MARQUETTE - Northern Michigan University should maintain its rank of having the fourth-lowest tuition and fees among the state's 15 public universities with the 2002-03 rate schedule approved today by the NMU Board of Trustees.

For full-time undergraduate students from Michigan, the annualized cost of attending NMU - including tuition, fees, room and board - will be $10,100. This is an increase of $616 or 6.3 percent from 2001-02.

The breakdown of the annualized cost is as follows: tuition and fees will total $4,780, which is expected to remain below the state average and amounts to a $423 increase over the previous year; and the room-and-board rate for a double-occupancy residence hall unit will be $5,630, up $193.

The board also agreed to revise the fee structure. Tuition bills previously included three itemized fees to cover NMU services, technology and infrastructure. Listing them separately gave some students and parents the mistaken impression that they were optional, when in fact they were required. Now they will fall under the umbrella heading of university fee.

"This is not a new or additional fee," said Gavin Leach, associate vice president for finance and planning. "We took the total of last year's required fees and put all but a fraction of that into tuition. We couldn't roll all of it into tuition because that would have unfairly increased the per-credit cost for part-time students. The $296 university fee will be charged to full-time students because they use campus services and facilities to a greater extent than part-time students."

Northern bills now will include three charges: tuition, the university fee for fulltime students and the student activity fee. The latter is approved by the student body.

New full-time undergraduate students will also pay an additional one-time athletic events fee of $1 00, which went into effect last year after a student referendum. NMU President Judi Bailey said NMU reallocated about $740,000 to keep tuition and fees lower for fall 2002. The reallocation effort includes not hiring for all vacant positions, streamlining work processes and delaying some scheduled initiatives or using one-time rather than base-budget funding. She said the goal was to cut costs where feasible while maintaining academic quality.

"Before bringing our recommendations to the board, we talked extensively with our constituency groups - students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members," Bailey said. "The overriding messages we received from each group were consistent: don't cut programs and services, don't increase class size and don't do anything to hamper personal attention to students. These priorities became the parameters we used in developing this year's budget."

Bailey said the tuition and fee schedule is impacted primarily by three factors: no increase in state appropriation for the first time since 1994; rising operational costs; and funding for capital outlay projects necessary to maintain aging buildings, accommodate enrollment growth and provide more efficient service through better physical The NMU Board of Trustees approved a 2002-03 general fund base budget of $79 million. The bulk of that total - nearly $50 million - will come from the state.

Tuition and fees will account for about $28 million.

Prepared By
Kristi Evans
News Director