The SVSU Board of Control this summer increased tuition nearly 5 percent for the 2019-2020 academic year.
Board members at their June 17 meeting set a tuition increase of $505 for in-state undergraduate students, which was a 4.9 percent increase. In all, undergraduate students taking 30 credits will pay a total of $10,813, up from $10,308 last academic year.
Tuition also increased 4.9 percent last year, raising the cost for in-state undergraduate students from $9,819 to $10,308, and officials said that tuition will likely continue to increase in the future.
“Tuition is the primary income source for the University’s general fund budget at approximately 72 percent of the total revenue stream,” said James Muladore, the executive vice president for Administration and Business Affairs. “Several decades ago, state support was at that level, but now funds just 24 percent of the budget. This contributes to the reality of potential future tuition increases.”
SVSU Board of Control Chair John Kunitzer also cited the lack of state funding as the primary reason for the increase.
“While the state’s budget support in recent years increased modestly, it remains considerably below the funding levels in which the state once supported its public universities financially,” Kunitzer said. “Because of this historical decrease in state funding, the university must explore other options for maintaining our first-class education and offerings. Increasing tuition becomes one of those options.”
The university will use the increased funds for faculty salaries and functional areas within the university.
“There will be modest compensation increases for faculty and staff members,” Kunitzer said. “There also continues to be funding needs for technology initiatives and maintenance of our structures and grounds, among many other important investments.”
One of those investments is an increase in available financial aid.
“The largest area of growth has been funding for student financial aid,” Muladore said. “Financial aid was increased by 17.3 percent over the prior year’s funding level. This increase is driven by a strategic commitment implemented in 2019 to fund more needbased aid for our students.”
Although tuition increases place extra burdens on students, Kunitzer said increased funds ensure that students are getting the most out of their education.
“While tuition will increase, the investment will ensure (students) receive one of the finest educational values available,” Kunitzer said. “SVSU’s opportunities, both in terms of academic programs and the outside-the-classroom initiatives that support student and alumni success, positively impact the lives and futures of both our students and their families.”
The decision to increase tuition was not an easy one, but SVSU President Don Bachand believes that the tuition increase will help the university further support student success.
“Students and families must reach deeper into their pockets to finance their education,” Bachand said. “As someone who worked his way through school and later paid for three children to attend college, I understand the real challenge this can present. We do all that we can to remain affordable without sacrificing quality. Every decision we make is, ultimately, about student success and how we can support that.”