NMU Board Sets Housing and Dining Rates

The NMU Board of Trustees today approved student housing and dining rates for 2005-06. The trustees will not set tuition until some time this summer, when administrators have a better handle on the state economic outlook. Because of the uncertainty, the board also authorized the university to continue operating at a budget level no greater than in 2004-05 until the new general fund budget is approved.

The cost of a standard double-occupancy residence hall room and the Constant Meal Pass program will be $6,312 beginning this fall. That is an increase of $300 from the 2004-05 rate. NMU will continue to rank 9th out of Michigan's 15 public universities in annual room and board costs.

Focus discussions at the meeting provided trustees with updates on enrollment, the Superior Edge and Internationalization initiatives, the budget and legislative process, and the academic role of WNMU-TV. With regard to the latter, the board agreed to hear a final report and recommendation on the fiscal and programming future of the public television station at its October meeting. Because Northern's fiscal year ends June 30, this means annual general fund support for Public TV 13 will continue at $200,000 until a decision is made.

"We're anxious to have this finalized," said Eric Smith, director of broadcast and audio-visual services at NMU. "But our television fundraising is at the point it needs to be. We have $30,000 left to raise between now and June 30. I have no doubt that we will be able to meet, and probably, exceed that amount."

The state appropriations process was described by David Haynes (Government Relations) as "way behind schedule, with some saying that the final bill may not go to the governor until September." President Les Wong said Northern is not waiting to hear what the final outcome will be. He told trustees the university has started discussions in anticipation of a budget shortfall ranging from about $2.4 million to nearly $2.9 million, depending on potential scenarios.

"We have started discussions and are aggressively working to develop models for reduction strategies and resource allocation," Wong added. "This will include a review of items that were on the table in the past but not implemented."

Wong will testify at a Senate hearing May 13 in Midland. The state revenue estimating conference is scheduled May 19.

In other action, the board:

•Approved the addition of two academic majors. Forensic biochemistry will be offered in the fall of 2006, pending state approval. Its implementation is motivated by high student demand, the increased importance of forensic science evidence in court cases, a growing interest in the field as reflected by the popularity of related television shows, and the success of similar programs at other institutions. A dual accounting/financial planning program will be added in the fall of 2005. It is a combination of the accounting and financial planning baccalaureate programs already available at NMU, and will be comprised of 150 credit hours – the amount needed to take the Michigan CPA and CFP exams;


•Accepted more than $59,000 in gifts and nearly $1.6 million in external grants;


•Approved the purchase of property and structures at 1502 Presque Isle Ave. ;


•Renewed the charters for Burton Glen Charter School Academy and Walton Charter School Academy through June 30, 2008, and for Nah Tah Wahsh Charter School Academy through June 30, 2006; and


•Agreed to name the Art and Design North Building and its recent addition simply "Art and Design"; and


•Announced the appointments of trustees Alan Ackerman, Larry Inman and Jon LaSalle as ex officio members of the NMU Foundation Board of Trustees for Calendar Year 2005.


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Updated: October 26, 2005

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