Western Michigan University Board of Trustees unanimously passed the Undergraduate Tuition Assessment Strategy that features a new streamlined tuition structure for undergraduates at Thursday, April 22 board meeting.
Effective Fall 2021, the strategy will introduce a flat rate tuition model that charges students the same fee for course loads between 12 and 15 credit hours.
"Our current rate structures are difficult to understand and are expressed differently than our peers making the value of a Western Michigan degree hard for prospective students to weigh against our competitors," said WMU Provost Jennifer Bott. “Our newly proposed streamlined tuition structure will help our students and families to understand what they are paying for and how it relates to other institutions.”
Financial aid funds at WMU have been a valuable resource for many students struggling with completing payments. Thursday’s decision is welcome news for students who now have an opportunity to know in advance how much financial aid they can expect to receive as an undergraduate.
Samantha Soria Ramirez, a Spring 2021 graduate said in the meeting that when her father was deported in her first semester, she received immense support from the university through financial assistance.
“I hope Western continues with their financial assistance and foundation scholarship,” Ramirez said.
Programs that are 100% online will not be included in the flat rate model. Various fees will also be included in student tuition and not offered separately or eliminated completely. Those fees include the enrollment fee and the $20 technology fee for online courses,
The student assessment fee and sustainability fee will continue to be charged as is because the fees are not administered outside of the administration.
There were also a number of curriculum changes which include the addition of a new major in integrated science as well as changes to the psychology major and a new masters in nutrition and dietetics.
The trustees also voted unanimously to grant WMUK-FM, the NPR affiliate on WMU’s campus a loan from the paycheck protection program of approximately $101,500. Since the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the U.S., there was a significant decline in sales revenue that is normally generated through underwriting.
For the 2021 fiscal year so far, the station has brought in $60,653.97 and the average amount brought in from underwriting from FY18-FY20 was $169,283.08 which means that the radio station is projecting to lose $108,629.11 this fiscal year.
A 20% budget reduction in university support has also contributed to the problem.
The next Board of Trustees meeting will be on June 24 at 11 a.m.