DETROIT — Wayne State University's Board of Governors today approved a tuition increase of 3.2% for both undergraduate and graduate students. This keeps the increase to less than $15 per credit hour for most students for fiscal year 2019-20.
A corresponding 3.2% increase in financial aid to help offset the tuition increase was also approved by the board. The increase, about $2.9 million, will bring the annual institutionally funded financial aid to $81.7 million.
Because lawmakers have not yet completed the state budget, Wayne State officials cannot be sure what to expect in terms of state appropriations. The university is basing the tuition increase on a 0.9% increase from the state. Wayne State’s general operating budget is not expected to be finalized until September. In a statement, Board of Governors Chair Kim Trent said:
"Each year, the Wayne State University Board of Governors is called upon to set tuition rates for our students, possibly the most difficult and important decision we are required to make. This decision typically takes place at our June board meeting because tuition bills are sent to our students during the first week of July. It should be noted that our board meeting schedule is adopted by the board two years in advance. A board member scheduled travel from which he would not return to Michigan until June 30 and asked the board to postpone our meeting until he returned. While we considered multiple alternative dates to accommodate the request, we could not find a time when all eight board members were available.
Three of the remaining eight board members did not attend today’s meeting. The four board members who undertook their solemn duty to conduct the university’s important business consulted with the university’s general counsel about whether a quorum existed at today’s meeting to vote. Board bylaw Article 1, Section 3 states that a quorum consists of five board members. Given that the board bylaws and the Michigan Constitution state that the university’s president is a board member, the board was advised by the university’s general counsel that we had the quorum necessary to conduct university business. We therefore voted on several issues, including the decision to increase undergraduate and graduate tuition by 3.2%.
Increasing the tuition burden on our students and their families is never an easy decision. There was a time when our state’s elected officials understood that college degree attainment was a public good and they invested in higher education accordingly. Wayne State University is the only university in Michigan that has not seen its share of the Snyder Administration’s 15% cut to higher education in 2011 fully restored. Furthermore, the state’s higher education disinvestment has been long and damaging. Wayne State University has two major sources of revenue: state funding and tuition. With state disinvestment, the burden for college costs has largely shifted to our students and their families. We urge state officials to change course and recognize that the decision to boost four-year degree attainment will improve our state’s talent development and job attraction and retention efforts.”
Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson said, “We are still the only public university in Michigan that remains below 2011 state funding levels. We remain $11.8 million short of our FY 2011 state funding level. While we appreciate our state appropriations, it’s becoming more and more challenging to offer our students a high-quality education at a good value.”