HOUGHTON - The Michigan Technological University Board of Control approved the Fiscal Year 2015 budget at their annual meeting Friday. Included in the budget were an increase in tuition as well as a restructuring of the undergraduate fee schedule to a differential tuition fee at an upper/lower division.
Changing from a curricular fee structure wherein undergraduate students began paying an additional fee in their second year based on major, students will now have a common tuition level for their first two years. In their third and fourth years, students will pay a fee of $150, $300 or $900 per semester, depending on major.
"The differential tuition fee is really moving us towards an upper/lower division structure, which will bring us in line with other high and very high research universities in the state," said Dave Reed, vice president for research.
Although the board approved a 2 percent tuition increase for in-state tuition and a 3 percent increase for out-of-state students going into effect for all students in the fall 2014 semester, the new fee structure results in a smaller reported tuition increase to the state.
"When we go through the calculations with the state - even though we've got a 2 percent increase in in-state tuition built in for all years - because we're changing that fee structure the reported tuition increase is actually going to be 0.5 percent," Reed said.
The increase in tuition is necessary to ensure a quality experience and education while funding has been cut, said John Lehman, associate vice president for enrollment, marketing and communications.
"One of the things that we've seen is the state a number of years decreased the number of appropriations we had and we are still not at that (former) level," he said. "Even as we try to keep tuition as low as possible, we do want to make sure that students have a quality experience and to do that we need to have the necessary funds."
The increase in tuition revenue will go to various budget items, including faculty salary increases.
"Our faculty are wanted all over the nation and we want to make sure they stay here," Lehman said.
In an effort to keep a Michigan Tech education affordable for students, the board approved increasing the financial aid budget to make scholarships available for students. An expected increase of $2.5 million dollars will go toward additional scholarships as well as gifts from donors.
"We are increasing tuition but we are also significantly increasing scholarships," said Thomas Baldini, board member. "We always focus on the increased tuition, and that is significant and is something students have to deal with, but I think we should also indicate that we as a board and an administration have made a real point of putting money on the other side through good budgeting and through the support of our alumni."
"Our general fund scholarships number is going from 33 million to 36 million, that's an increase of 9 percent. So while tuition is going up 2 percent for in-state students, 3 percent for out-of-state students, our financial aid number is going up 9 percent," Reed added. "Access and affordability for our students is something we take very seriously."
In other business, the board:
Awarded the Melvin Calvin medal of honor to David House and Richard Henes.
Approved adding a bachelor of science in statistics program and a master of science in data science program.
Granted an honorary doctor of philosophy degree to Frank Pavlis and posthumous honorary PhD to Elena Levin.
Appointed Julie Seppala, executive director of financial services and operations, as treasurer of the Board.
Approved promotion of 11 associate professors with tenure to professor with tenure: Theresa Ahlborn and Zhanping You, Civil & Environmental Engineering; Karla Kitalong and Beatrice Smith, Humanities; Jason Carter, Kinesiology & Integrative Physiology; Jeffrey Allen, Michele Miller and Gregory Odegard, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics; Victor Busov, School of Forest Resources & Environmental Science; Carol MacLennan, Social Sciences; and Mary Carol Friedrich, Visual and Performing Arts.
Approved appointment of Eric Seagren, Civil & Environmental Engineering, and Fredric Quivik, Social Sciences from associate professor without tenure to professor with tenure.
Approved appointment from associate professor without tenure to associate professor with tenure for Guilang Tang, Biological Sciences; Jennifer Becker, Civil & Environmental Engineering; Joshua Pearce, Materials Science & Engineering; and Jiguang Sun, Mathematical Sciences.
Approved appointment of 16 assistant professors to associate professor with tenure: Lynn Mazzoleni, Chemistry; Chaoli Wang, Computer Science; Shiyan Hu, Electrical & Computer Engineering; Shiliang Wu, Geological & Mining Engineering & Sciences; Kette Thomas, Humanities; Paul Sanders and Yongmei Jin, Materials Science & Engineering; Stefaan De Winter and Zhengfu Xu, Mathematical Sciences; Scott Miers, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics; Patricia Huentemeyer, Physics; Hairong Wei, School of Forest Resources & Environmental Science; Aurenice de Menezes Oliveira and Xinli Wang, School of Technology; and Jared Anderson and Kalen Larson Visual & Performing Arts.
Granted professor emeritus status to retiring School of Business and Economics Professor Mark Roberts.