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June 21, 2017

MSU sets 2017-18 tuition, announces freshman tuition freeze

The Michigan State University Board of Trustees today adopted budget guidelines for the 2017-18 academic year that calls for tuition and financial aid increases as well as a plan to freeze tuition rates for freshman students for the 2018-19 academic year.

The freeze is part of MSU’s new “Go Green, Go 15” initiative, a program aimed at encouraging new students to seize the academic momentum as freshmen and maintain that pace as upperclassmen to reduce college costs and increase academic success by maintaining an average of 15 credits per semester. 

Under the new budget guidelines, tuition for in-state freshman and sophomore undergraduate students will increase by 2.8 percent, which equates to $13.25 more per credit hour. In-state juniors and seniors will see an increase of 3.8 percent, or $19.75 per credit hour. Graduate students in most MSU colleges will have an increase of 4 percent, or $28 per credit hour.

Non-resident tuition for undergraduate and graduate students in most MSU colleges will increase by 4 percent, which equates to $50.50 per credit hour for freshmen/sophomores, $52 per credit hour for juniors/seniors and $55 per credit hour for graduate students.

As in past years with tuition increases, financial aid also will increase by $6.2 million, or approximately 4.5 percent. During the past 10 years, increases to financial aid have outpaced resident undergraduate tuition increases by 37 percentage points.

The budget guidelines cover the university general fund, AgBioResearch, Extension and intercollegiate athletics, authorizing expenditures totaling $1.59 billion.

“Despite MSU lagging the Big Ten average for state funding by more than $3,500 per student, approximating $168 million in resources, MSU continues its pledge to provide Michigan students with a life-changing educational experience,” MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon said.

Some $1 billion in institutional and student aid cuts have been absorbed by Michigan’s 15 public universities since 2002, according to the House Fiscal Agency. If funding for higher education had kept pace with the national average, appropriations to MSU would be approximately $85 million higher today. MSU enrolls the highest number of Michigan residents, as 75 percent of undergraduates are in-state students.

“We take this privilege and responsibility very seriously,” Simon continued. “It’s unfortunate the state is continuing to shift responsibility for supporting higher education to residents, but our commitment to students and their families remains strong.”

MSU enrolls the highest number of Pell-eligible students in the state, and more than 60 percent of MSU’s undergraduate students receive some form of financial aid. That translates into more than 4,500 students having their tuition fully covered with some combination of gift aid.

The “Go Green, Go 15” program, recently launched as part of MSU’s Student Success Initiative, encourages MSU students to aim for an average of 15 credits per semester, completing 30 credits in their first year of study, to graduate in four years. Doing so not only leads to higher levels of academic success, research shows, but also helps significantly reduce the cost of college.

Additionally, since its inception in 2007, MSU’s Spartan Advantage program has reduced the loan debt of the neediest Michigan students. Eligible students receive grants, scholarships and work-study funds to cover the cost of tuition and fees, room and board and books. Students who are interested in Spartan Advantage should apply by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Awards will be renewable each year for students who continue to meet the eligibility requirements.

“As the nation’s pioneer land-grant university, we place high priority on access to education,” Provost June Pierce Youatt said. “We admit students from varied backgrounds creating a very demographically diverse student population. At MSU, we are creating tools and programs necessary to assist because we have the unwavering belief that every student admitted can succeed.” 

Other 2017-18 budget highlights include:

  • As in past years, a portion of the 2017-18 spending plan is earmarked for faculty salary increases. The plan calls for a 2.5 percent general salary increase for faculty and non-unionized staff based on merit, as well as a 0.5 percent increase for market adjustments.
  • Thanks to increased efficiency and a move from coal to natural gas at the T.B. Simon Power Plant, the university experienced a decrease in utility costs of $4.2 million, or 7 percent.
  • $7.5 million funding for various initiatives, including academic competitiveness, information technology, student success analytics, campus Wi-Fi improvements and other technology-based projects.
  • Stipend ranges for graduate assistants holding research or administrative appointments will be increased 2 percent.

By: Kristen Parker