Students at Eastern Michigan University will be paying an additional 4.1 percent in tuition this fall semester. This is not the only increase students will be feeling. In n a predominantly commuter-student institution, parking passes will cost an additional $50, bringing the total cost to $150. Commuter costs are currently $100 for most services.
“Although I understand the reason for the increase in parking fees to renovate some of our existing parking lots and the 4.1 percent increase in tuition fees, I must inform you that I cannot support such increases,” said Student Body President Tanasia Morton.
Board of Regents Chairman Mike Morris pointed out that EMU has not raised parking prices for five years and that the “dilapidated” state of parking lots across campus will need extra funding to repair. Hence, a raise in parking fees was necessary.
“We are a commuter campus and a 50 percent raise in fees as noticeable as this goes against the very commuters and residents that we are here to support,” Morton went on. “I would encourage this board to remember the slogan of this university: Education First.”
But the Board of Regents approved more than just a rate hike. Eastern will now offer in-state tuition prices to out-of-state students. Michigan’s population of high school students is shrinking and this is the university’s strategy to attract out-of-state high schoolers to Eastern.
This was done at the same Board of Regents meeting where the decision to privatize Eastern’s dining services was approved unanimously. The privatization was done despite a significant amount of protest from unions around campus.
The university is going to go forward with a number of capital improvements which necessitated the hikes. Strong Hall is going to be renovated as part of a $40 million project to wrap up the revitalization of Eastern’s Science Technology Engineering and Math programs.
Lansing passed a $30 million package of funding for the project, leaving the university to pay for the last quarter of it. The university also wants to remodel the co-op power plant west of Halle Library and to modernize the Loop One system. Loop One is an underground loop that distributes power without campus. Outgoing interim-university president Donald Loppnow said that the system was worryingly outdated and needed to be fixed now before the system crashed in the next few years.
President Morton received support in her opposition to the Board’s decision by other student government leaders.
Student Senator Sam Jones-Darling said on Facebook after the meeting “I have authored a resolution that would place questions before the students of Eastern Michigan University in the late fall on whether they have confidence in the Board of Regents.”
“It is my firm belief that the 4.1 percent tuition increase is the Board of Regents and Administration transferring responsibility for the punishment imposed on EMU by the State of Michigan. Make no mistake, this Board of Regents doesn’t care about ensuring the education of EMU’s students,” Jones-Darling went on in another Facebook post. “They care about gutting the future of Michigan’s institutions of higher education!”