FY15 Tuition FAQ
Q: How much will tuition increase this year?
The Board of Governors voted to increase tuition $10.45 per credit hour — or 3.2 percent — for Michigan resident undergraduate and graduate students for the 2014-15 academic year. That calculates to $313.50 a year for a resident undergraduate taking 30 credit hours.
By staying within the state’s tuition restraint cap, Wayne State qualifies for approximately $1.5 million in performance-based funding.
Q: Why did Wayne State increase tuition?
The tuition increase is necessary to help offset rising costs and protect our academic programs, thereby ensuring the quality of a WSU education.
Historically, Wayne State has relied far more on state appropriations to maintain its affordable tuition. In the past, Wayne State received two-thirds of its operating funds from the state and the other third from tuition. Today, the reverse is true —approximately two-thirds of Wayne State’s funding comes from students, while the state covers one-third. Wayne State has been forced to raise tuition to protect the excellence of its teaching and research.
Wayne State remains by far the most affordable of Michigan’s three major research universities.
Q: What has the university done to keep costs down?
The university’s approved budget provides for a 1.1 percent increase over last year, which is less than the rate of inflation. To balance the budget, the university implemented $7.7 million in budget reductions, including the elimination of 75 mostly vacant faculty and staff positions.
WSU has managed its budget carefully for a long time. Over the past five years, we have cut $75 million from our base budget. These budget adjustments have resulted in more efficiency, while also ensuring a continuing focus on the core missions of teaching and research.
Q: With tuition increasing, what is Wayne State doing to help students cover the cost of a college education?
Wayne State offers students a number of important resources and programs to help reduce the overall cost of earning a degree. The most direct resource available to students is financial aid, which Wayne State will increase by $939,104 — or 1.5 percent — this year. With this increase, its institutionally funded financial aid is now $63.5 million — a more than 200 percent increase in the last decade. Our total financial aid budget, including loans and work-study awards, is $351 million.
In addition to institutional financial aid, there are $11 million in privately funded endowed scholarships available, and our development team is working diligently with donors to increase that figure. Wayne State’s financial aid office encourages students to schedule an appointment with a trained advisor, who will help identify which type of aid or scholarship they may qualify for. Perhaps most importantly, every student should consult with the financial aid office to help plan for the total cost of education and understand the different loans that are available.
While financial aid has a direct impact on educational costs, the university understands that helping students create the most efficient path to their degree is equally important to long-term affordability. Two tuition discount programs in particular can help reduce tuition costs and incentivize students to graduate on time.
The newly approved Spring/Summer Tuition Break program rewards students with a 30 percent tuition discount in the spring/summer semester if they take a full course load in the fall and winter semesters. The goal of the program is to help students graduate sooner and with less debt.
Wayne State’s Great Lakes Award offers undergraduate students who are residents of a state or province bordering a Great Lake significant savings to the non-resident tuition rate. Great Lakes Award recipients get access to one of the nation’s top research universities and the benefit of the Michigan resident tuition rate plus 10 percent — a savings of thousands of dollars each semester.
Q: How is Wayne State helping students create the most cost-effective path toward a degree?
Comprehensive academic advising and support, along with more convenient access to education, are critical factors in creating a cost-effective degree path for students.
Wayne State has significantly expanded its student-advising department. As a result, advising means much more than helping students select their courses. Advisors now spend more time with students — time used to help students explore their hopes and dreams, monitor and assess their progress, and take advantage of the many opportunities on campus.
We also have our S.M.A.R.T. Check program, which students must complete before dropping a class. This mandatory program is important for all students, but especially for those receiving financial aid. Prior to dropping a class, students must meet with a trained Student Service Center Specialist to review the academic and financial ramifications of dropping a course, ensuring that students do not jeopardize their financial aid and unwittingly trigger loan repayments.
The Transfer Student Success Center opened in fall 2013 and is dedicated to assisting community college and four-year institution transfer students with the unique challenges they face.
Q: What steps has Wayne State taken to increase students’ access to education?
We understand that proximity to campus classrooms can be the difference between completing a degree now, in another year or never. Eighty-nine percent of our students live in Wayne, Oakland or Macomb counties. To make it more convenient for these students to earn degrees, Wayne State will offer classes at campuses in all three of those counties in fall 2014.
Our new Advanced Technology Education Center in Warren offers students in Macomb County the opportunity to attain four-year degrees in marketable academic programs such as engineering, computer science, business, advanced manufacturing and other disciplines, while providing collaborative opportunities with the business community in the area.
Starting this fall, Wayne State’s “Schoolcraft to U” partnership will offer university courses at Schoolcraft College’s main campus in Livonia and online.
The Alternative Pathways to Excellence (APEX) program assists students who may not meet the university’s traditional admission requirements get into and graduate from Wayne State.
The APEX program has helped hundreds of new undergraduate students become better equipped to handle the academic rigors of a research university like Wayne State. Through our APEX program, students can meet with an advisor, evaluate their academic deficiencies and address them through Wayne State’s summer or fall Bridge programs. Both sessions of the Bridge program provide free classes in math, writing and overall study habits.
Q: Are you able to use some of your endowment to provide students some financial relief?
More than 95 percent of the Wayne State University endowment is restricted for various programs. This means that the donors who made gifts to the endowment assigned their gift for a specific purpose. The majority of the Wayne State University endowment is designated to support students and faculty.
Q: With its budget challenges, why is Wayne State building a new research building, renovating the Student Center Building and renovating classrooms?
As a major research university, it is essential that Wayne State invest in research facilities. These facilities create jobs, attract talent and produce life-saving discoveries. They are also good for students, who benefit from faculty who are at the forefront of their disciplines.
The university received $30 million in state funding to support the construction of the Multidisciplinary Biomedical Research Building and is actively fundraising to support its construction.
The Student Center Building was built in 1969 and is in desperate need of a face-lift. With more students living on campus and in Midtown than ever before, it’s critical that students have a welcoming, comfortable place to study, dine, play and hold meetings. The project is being funded through a mix of university borrowing, student service fees and philanthropic gifts.
It is necessary that we upgrade the facilities to ensure WSU remains an excellent university. This includes improvements in classrooms and labs. These enhancements are not merely cosmetic, but introduce technology, flexible seating and collaboration spaces that support the highest-quality teaching and learning methods.
Wayne State University is fortunate to have the support of alumni, friends, corporations and foundations. Their generosity has been, and will continue to be, an important part of the success of these projects.