Board approves budget, raises tuition in face of largest decrease in state support in Wayne State history

June 22, 2011

DETROIT - Faced with a $32 million cut in state appropriations, the Wayne State University Board of Governors voted on Wednesday to approve a budget for FY 2012 that includes $29 million in carefully targeted cost reductions and a 6.9 percent tuition increase for undergraduate programs. For many students, the tuition increase will be partially offset by an 8.7 percent increase in financial aid.

"We never want to raise tuition this much," said Tina Abbott, chair of the Board of Governors. "We know how difficult this economy is, and how much this hurts students and their families. But we faced the largest cut in state appropriations in our history. We have a duty to protect the quality of a Wayne State education and we had no other choice."

The reduction in state appropriations means a cut of $1,000 per student. When adjusted for inflation, this cut reduces Wayne State University's total state appropriation to its fiscal year 1966 level. The tuition increase offsets less than half of this cut-or approximately $446 per student. Cost reductions throughout the University will make up the rest of the state cut.

Wayne State's tuition will increase $18.55 per credit hour, which calculates to $223 per semester for students taking 12 credit hours in fall 2011.Wayne State's tuition ranks 13th among Michigan's 15 public universities, and the dollar amount of the increase is less than at almost every other Michigan public university.

"As students, we're never happy when tuition goes up," said Megha Trivedi, vice president of the Student Senate. "But if it's necessary to ensure our academic quality isn't impacted, it's the right thing to do. I just wish higher education was a higher priority in this state."

To mitigate tuition increases for those needing financial assistance, Wayne State has nearly doubled its financial aid in the past five years, including an additional 8.7 percent for the coming year. If all student financial aid options are included, financial aid has tripled in just the past three years. Eighty-two percent of the university's undergraduate students receive some form of financial aid.

During the budget process, there was a strong focus on preserving the teaching and research core of the University. The $29 million in budget reductions was made following a series of budget hearings with every school, college and division within the University. The Huron Consulting Group also assisted in identifying areas for potential efficiencies. The reductions include such initiatives as administrative restructuring, streamlined business processes and workforce reduction. Approximately 70 filled positions will be eliminated. No tenure-track faculty lines will be eliminated.

"As a result of our state's budget problem, the board had to make some very tough decisions," said WSU President Allan Gilmour. "Reducing costs and eliminating jobs is never easy. Every unit in this University, both on the academic and administrative sides, shared in the sacrifice required by the reduction in state appropriation. No one was exempt. Still, we believe this budget, as much as possible, both protects academic quality today and positions Wayne State for the future."

With the latest budget cuts, Wayne State has reduced operating expenses by about $80 million since 2002.

The board also approved a 4.9 percent increase in tuition for the Law School and a 5.9 percent increase for the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. A 3 percent increase was approved in April for the School of Medicine.

For FY 2012, Wayne State intends to continue its investment in academic enhancements. These include increasing the number of full-time, tenure and tenure-track faculty; improving retention and graduation rates; improving customer service; and growing its research enterprise. "We are fully committed to preserving the excellence of a Wayne State education," added Gilmour. "This will best serve our faculty, our students and our community, now and in the future."

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Wayne State University is a premier urban research institution of higher education offering more than 400 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to nearly 32,000 students.