Ferris State University was recently named the most efficient university in Michigan for keeping student costs low.
Since 2000, Ferris has seen a 38.6 percent decline in the amount of money taken from students according to the Fiscal Focus report by Kyle Jen, deputy director of the House Fiscal Agency. The report also revealed a 36 percent increase in total resources per student or 2.4 percent increase per year.
“[The 2.4 percent increase] is the smallest rate of increase compared to the other public universities,” Director of Budgetary Planning and Analysis Sally DePew said. “It’s less than the higher-education rate of inflation.”
The state of Michigan looked at how many full-time equivalent students are at Ferris when deciding the amount of funding to approve for the year.
An undergraduate student taking 30 credit hours over the academic year is considered one full-time equivalent student (FTE). Students taking under 30 credit hours over the year are still counted by the State but not as one FTE student.
“If student A is taking six credits and student B is taking 18 credits, together they’re taking 24 credits, which would make them almost one FTE,” DePew said. “Really, [the State] doesn’t look at the number of students, they look at the number of credit hours being taken total.”
The reason students are looked at by FTE rather than per person is because students at different universities “will take vastly different credit loads,” said DePew.
Ferris was one of 15 Michigan public universities whose student enrollment grew at a faster rate than its cost of tuition.
“We have been challenged in having fewer state dollars,” DePew said. “The other thing that challenges a university is the number of students that they are serving. At Ferris, while the state was reducing our appropriations, we were increasing our enrollment.”
Rather than increasing tuition, Ferris took budget cuts.
According to DePew, part of President Eisler’s philosophy is to never pass state budget cuts to students.
“What we will do at Ferris is have responsible rates for tuition increase based on how much the state appropriates for us,” DePew said. “We are working very hard to keep their costs down and provide them with a quality education.”
Additionally, out of the 15 Michigan public universities, Ferris ranks number 11 in terms of financial aid given to students.