Education
1:26 pm
Thu June 27, 2013

Wayne State says no choice but to raise tuition beyond state cap

You’ll have to pay an additional $900 a year to be a Wayne State student next school year.

The university is raising tuition by 8.9%.

That’s especially tough on a student body that’s almost entirely from in-state.

And it’s a dramatic move for the school.

This year, every other public university in Michigan is playing along with a state deal: schools get access to an extra pool of state money, if they cap tuition hikes at 3.75%.

But that incentive isn’t enough to make up for deeper cuts from the state.   

The state has slashed higher education funding by a full third in recent years.

What that means, says WSU board member Eugene Driker, is that now schools have to get that money from students, instead.

"We are placing the burden of having an educated community on the backs of the students and their families."

"We are placing the burden of having an educated community on the backs of the students and their families," he said at a Wednesday meeting of the board.

Wayne State prides itself on being both a respected research university, and drawing students who can’t swing pricier places like the University of Michigan or Michigan State.  

Plenty of WSU students also work full-time, which administrators point to when the school’s graduation stats differ from other state schools.

It takes WSU students longer to graduate than the state would like. The number of students who get their degrees within 6 years isn’t as high as the number of those who take up to 10 years.

That matters, because public universities get more money from that special state pool if they meet certain performance standards, like the 6-year graduation rate.  

So it’s possible that WSU wasn’t getting all that much benefit from adhering to the 3.75% cap to begin with.

“The state has decided higher education is not a high priority,” Debbie Dingell is quoted saying in a press release. She’s the chair of WSU’s board of governors.

“We have to face the limitations of our basic funding source – student tuition….we have already cut our budget as far as we can – more than $19 million for this budget and $50 million over the past three years.”

The school will also increase its financial aid offerings by 11%.

That means WSU will give out $62 million in need-based or merit-based aid.

About 80% of WSU students receive some type of financial aid, according to the school.