|University of Michigan boosts tuition rates, financial aid for needy|
Friday, June 19, 2009
University of Michigan boosts tuition rates, financial aid for needy
Students' push for fee freeze impossible with state cuts, leaders say
Marisa Schultz / The Detroit News
Ann Arbor -- Tuition will increase more than $600 for University of Michigan freshmen following a 5.6 percent hike Thursday.
On a 6-2 vote, U-M Regents also approved undergraduate rate hikes of 6.7 percent at U-M Dearborn and 6.5 percent at U-M Flint.
"We know this is a difficult period for our students and their families and, for some, the economic recession is affecting their ability to cover educational costs," President Mary Sue Coleman said. "The economic downturn has only reinforced our commitment to ensuring a U-M education is accessible to students."
To help needy students, U-M Ann Arbor increased financial aid by $10.2 million -- the largest investment in need-based aid in U-M's history. Coupled with new increases in federal financial aid, "many University of Michigan undergraduates will pay less next year for tuition bills than they'll pay this year," said U-M Provost Teresa A. Sullivan.
Average yearly freshman tuition will go from $11,037 to $11,659 this fall.
U-M faced pressure to freeze tuition from the Stop the Hike coalition, a group of students.
"Although the regents' vote undoubtedly reflected tough deliberations ... I'm afraid that a 5.6 percent increase will have detrimental effects on the university's most important resource, the students," said member Adam London, 20, a junior. "I've spoken to many friends who will now need to reconsider whether U-M is the place for them to be next fall."
A freeze wasn't realistic because of a reduction in state funding and the need to generate revenues for rising health care and energy costs, as well as U-M's competitive pressures to attract and retain the best faculty, leaders said. U-M is making $15 million in cuts this year. Coleman and administrators will forgo merit increases.
"We simply cannot allow U-M to become just another public university," Regent Laurence B. Deitch said. "It has to be the best." Also supporting the budget were: Olivia Maynard, Andrea Fischer Newman, Andrew Richner, S. Martin Taylor and Katherine White.
Regents Julia Donovan Darlow and Denise Ilitch voted against the increase.
"We have to fix our budget crisis from within -- not on the backs of working students and families," Ilitch said.