NMU BOARD APPROVES BUDGET PLAN

MARQUETTE – The Northern Michigan University Board of Trustees approved a plan that will implement nearly $3.4 million in budget adjustments and a winter-semester tuition increase.

The NMU PresidentÂ’s Council had recommended $3.4 million in adjustments over the next two years. They feature a combination of reductions, cost-avoidance, reallocations and revenue-generating measures designed to offset an executive order for the current fiscal year and a projected decrease in state support for fiscal year 2005.

The PresidentÂ’s Council classified the adjustments as having a lower impact on the universityÂ’s ability to fulfill its mission statement and vision, and to preserve the quality of the student academic experience. They will result in the loss of about 16 full-time equivalent positions, some of which are vacant.

“In my mind, these are high-impact adjustments because we are cutting into some serious bone, especially when you factor in the last round of budget reductions still being implemented,” said Karl Weber, vice chair of the board. “Northern’s tuition increase this fall was well below the state average and now our hands are tied. None of us wants to raise tuition, but we can’t rely solely on cuts at this point or we will be looking at eliminating programs and services. That is something I am unwilling to do.”

The plan approved by the board will increase annual tuition and fees by $100 per semester for resident full-time undergraduate students and $160 per semester for nonresidents, effective in January.

ASNMU President Kyle Ortiz told the board that students were willing to accept a modest, mid-year tuition adjustment. They had endorsed a previous option that included an increase of $77 per semester.  

“Given the unknowns of the state economy, students would rather see a smaller increase now rather than face a large one next fall,” Ortiz said. “They just want to keep it small enough that it doesn’t become a hassle for them to scramble and adjust their loans or financial aid on short notice. Overall, students said the process was very satisfactory and President Roy and the President’s Council deserve to be complimented.”

A mid-year increase applied to extension courses will result in an additional $8 per credit for undergraduates and an extra $9.50 per credit for graduate students. The plan also includes revised summer college tuition rates.

In other action, the board approved the purchase of property and structures located at 1010 and 1020 Wright Street, at a cost of $725,000 plus related miscellaneous expenses.

The amount will be funded through the transfer of Magers Hall, a state building, to the Housing and Residence Life auxiliary operation for the purposes of converting it back to its original use as a residence hall. The Wright street properties are adjacent to NMUÂ’s Ripley Heating Plant.

 Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚  “Northern has been interested in this land for some time because it is part of the universityÂ’s long-range master plan,” said Carl Pace, associate vice president for facilities and services. “We began exploring a purchase several years ago, when it became apparent that we would have to begin the process of replacing our boilers within the heating plant and electrical gear, which may require additional space. We had no control over the timing. The owners decided they were ready to sell, so we had to act quickly or risk losing the opportunity. This is a long-term investment.”

 Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚  Housing and Residence Life will use two sources to fund the Magers Hall project: $4.6 million in proceeds from the 2001 bond issue, which were made available by not moving forward with the Quad II renovation; and $1.3 million in reserves.



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Kristi Evans
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