Graduate programs hit hardest by tuition hikes as university struggles with state and federal funding woes
The Ferris State Board of Trustees voted Monday, July 8 to increase tuition for full time undergraduate students by 5.33 percent to $316 per credit hour.
While students will pay the increased amount in full at the start of term, the university plans to use $1.39 million in Federal Stimulus monies to issue a rebate, affectively lowering the per credit cost to around $311. When those checks, which should be around $5 per credit hour for full time students, will be distributed is still not clear according to Leah Nixon, assistant director for new services
Ferris has increased tuition for undergrad students by a total of 13 percent in the last six years in addition to cutting spending by $15 million in the last eight years. A two to four percent cut for most departments around campus along with other cost reducing changes yielded an overall savings of around $2.5 million in the last year alone.
Students enrolled in one of the graduate programs at Ferris State can expect a $425 tab per credit hour while College of Pharmacy and College of Optometry students who are residents of the state of Michigan can expect $504 and $514 per credit hour, respectively.
The increase in costs has forced accelerated second year pharmacy student Julie Brockway and many of her fellow classmates to seek a Graduate Plus loan who was surprised by the increase of $26 from $478 last year.
“My Ferris based scholarships are done after this year, since it’s only for four years, so I’ve got to find other ways to pay,” said Brockway.
A scholarship initiative to help ease the economic burden on the families of Ferris students called “Opportunity @ 125” is tied in with the 125 Anniversary and is aimed towards students with high financial need. This idea was first presented last April as a way of helping students who were negatively affected by the recent economic troubles.
“The strength of our enrollment growth is an indication that students see Ferris’ career-oriented degrees as a path to success in these difficult times,” said President David Eisler regarding the university’s continued growth to nearly 13,000 students enrolled at the Big Rapids, Grand Rapids, Kendall College and satellite campuses, though the university has worked through a $6.9 million decrease in state and federal funding since 2003.
In the same meeting the Board of Trustees voted to increase tuition and approved a budget of $175.7 million for Fiscal Year 2010, President Eisler’s contract was extended another year and he was offered a three percent raise. Eisler declined the raise due to the current economic challenges of Michigan and maintains an annual salary of $235,000.
Saginaw Valley State University had the highest increase at 6.33 percent followed by Western Michigan University and University of Michigan at around 5.7 percent.
The Torch calculated the percentages and figures by dividing the relevant year by the previous year and truncating the change to the second. Official figures were given to the Torch in documents provided by the office of Admissions and Records.