Wayne State’s Board of Governors approved a 2.9 percent tuition increase during their special meeting on June 8. This increase continues a seven-year pattern of tuition increases.
This brings the cost of each undergraduate credit hour to $10.84 or less, according to a BOG press release.
The BOG approved a general operating budget of $655 million for fiscal year 2019 — mainly comprising of $202 million in state appropriations and $404.5 million in tuition and fees.
The 2019 fiscal year budget also includes $79.4 million in WSU’s annual institutionally funded financial aid — a 7.1 percent increase from last year, and a 200 percent increase over the past decade, according to the press release.
"Although it never feels good to raise tuition, I’m pleased we were able to limit the increase because our students feel the effects of any increase, big or small," said BOG Chair Sandy Hughes O'Brien. "It’s our job as a Board to help make the cost of attendance as affordable and accessible as possible for all students. That’s why we’re excited about our new financial aid programs. This budget will allow us to sustain the excellence of [WSU] and continue to increase the value of a [WSU] degree.”
Jeff Bolton, the senior director of the Office of University Budget, said they were excited to implement a budget that included a tuition increase “pretty far below” the state’s 3.8 percent tuition restraint.
“We continue to strive for transparency in our budget,” Bolton said. “When tuition is increased and our students are asked to pay more, we want them to know where their tuition dollars are being spent and that they are being spent responsibly.”
Victoria Szuminski, a senior biology student, is among the 14 percent of WSU students whose tuition is fully funded through financial aid. Despite this, she said tuition is a huge burden for students.
“It is what it is, you have to go to college,” Szuminski said. “They should compromise for what they’re increasing because we have no control over it.”
Ali Alzady, also a senior biology student, said the increase shows WSU is trying to remain competitive with the University of Michigan and Michigan State University.
“[WSU] is improving their structure and their curricular, and they’re going to require more money, and in order to squeeze that money they’re going to have to increase tuition rates,” Alzady said. “It was going to be inevitable that tuition rates were going to go up, I could have told you in 2012 that tuition was going to go up.”
The BOG will hold its next meeting on June 22.
Miriam Marini is editor-in-chief of The South End. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.