Interim President testifies in Lansing about tuition increase

Interim President Kim Schatzel testified in Lansing on Thursday about the reasons behind the tuition increase.

One of the reasons Schatzel gave for raising tuition was the university’s low reserves.

“Today, Eastern’s financial reserves stand at $29.7 million, the second lowest among Michigan’s public universities, behind only Lake Superior State University. A university’s financial reserves are analogous to a savings account for a household. Considered that way, it is easy to see that more funds in reserves is better for the financial health of the institution,” she said.

In comparison, according to Schatzel, Central Michigan University has $371.5 million in reserves and Grand Valley State University has $277.8 million.

She said one of the reasons for Eastern’s low amount of reserve funds is because of how long it has held down tuition.

Another reason Schatzel gave for increasing tuition were maintaining and investing in the facilities.

“Since 2008, Eastern has invested approximately $237 million in such capital improvement projects, of which only $31 million came through the legislature’s capital outlay process. The rest was self-funded. More than 94 percent of this spending was for academic and student building improvements and public safety,” Schatzel said.

According to Schatzel, these projects are to provide students with contemporary, high-quality degree programs.

Schatzel also apologized for the university’s lack of communication this summer about the decision to increase tuition beyond the state cap.

The full scipt of the testimony can be found on the website.

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