President Anthony Eid and Vice President Kristian Wright have taken on leadership for the next year of Student Senate as of May 12. Although they do not yet have a full Senate, due to a lack of students running, they continued on with their first meeting on May 19.
The Senate invited Rob Kohrman, Vice Dean of Fiscal Affairs for the School of Medicine, to go over the 2017 fiscal year budget and plans for students.
According to Kohrman, the university receives revenue from the state. Some colleges receive more from the state than others which allows them to have lower tuition increases. “WSU is the lowest increase in the state out of all public universities,” he said.
Kohrman referred to 2012, when higher education had taken a large cut. Overall, 15 percent was taken from colleges and WSU took a $32 million cut, according to the Office of Budget, Planning and Analysis. Governor Rick Snyder proposed a $61 million boost to restore the funding levels of 2011, but not every institution is back on track, one of those being WSU.
“Wayne State is still $16 million short, but if you look at other institutions like Grand Valley, they are 12 percent ahead of where they were,” Kohrman said.
Last year, WSU raised tuition by 3.2 percent. Kohrman said currently, “There isn’t any talk about going above the 4.8 percent [tuition increase] cap.” He mentioned that they may look at a different model that would suggest a 3.9 percent increase for lower division and 5.5 percent for upper division, similar to Michigan State University. The law and medical school tuitions will see a 2.5 percent increase.
“We are riding a wonderful wave. Detroit is coming back and we are finally up in enrollment in five years,” Kohrman said. “This new medical school class will have 45 African American students. There were only five students in the last class.”
Over the last few years, parking expense has been a continuous discussion on campus. Kohrman announced that Wayne State is launching a pilot program that will offer freshman Warriors free parking during the fall, and potentially winter, semester.
“President [M. Roy] Wilson is going to take money out of his own account to fund the freshman experiment,” Kohrman said. “They just have to opt in.”
To qualify, first-time university freshman will have the option of receiving a tag at orientation that will give free access to parking lots and structures around campus. This pilot will be in place for all freshmen, including those living on campus. Kohrman said the pilot will measure if there is an increase in students being on time to class, attendance and academic excellence. He said they have those models ready in place to monitor.
Kohrman said they also saw an increase in freshman interested in living on campus.
“The occupancy around midtown is 100 percent. We have right now 700 applications for students to live in the dorms this year. Last year, we had 300,” he said.
There has also been development in beginning construction on the Science and Engineering library along with the construction of two apartment buildings and the removal of DeRoy Apartments. Lastly, the Thompson House, former home of to the School of Social Work, will be renovated into new housing.
Student Senate’s next general body meeting will take place June 2 in the Student Center Hilberry D at 6 p.m.
Contact Managing Editor Sarah Rahal at Sarahal@wayne.edu. Follow her on Twitter: @sarahal6611