Volume 13, Issue 1 – July 12, 2013
Dear NMU Parents,
I hope your summer has been enjoyable so far. It’s amazing to think we’re just seven weeks away from the start of fall classes on Monday, Aug. 26. The campus is already starting to gear up for the 2013-14 academic year with all but the final orientation sessions now over, textbooks arriving in the NMU Bookstore and faculty busy preparing syllabi. Let me update you on a few important items as you prepare for your son or daughter coming or returning to Northern Michigan University in a few weeks.
BOARD SETS TUITION: The NMU Board of Trustees set tuition and fee rates for 2013-14 at this morning’s (July 12) meeting. The board raised tuition for all full-time Northern resident undergraduate students by $164 per semester (for students taking 12-18 credits) and $255 per semester for non-resident undergraduates. To help off set the increase, financial aid in this year’s university budget was also increased 6.6 percent, or nearly $1 million dollars. Northern continues to have the second-most affordable tuition and fees in the state, a position we’ve held since 2000. Our goal each year is to provide a world-class education at an affordable price. The full schedule of tuition and fee rates can be found at www.nmu.edu/tuition.
WHAT IS 1 PERCENT? The state and federal governments require universities to report numerical figures in percentages, and the media usually follows suit. However, comparing tuition increases in percentages means little to the person paying the bill in dollars because what 1 percent represents in dollars is determined by the tuition rate of the previous year. Universities with high tuition in 2012-13 can have a lower percentage increase, but actually be charging the student more money than a university that raises its tuition at a higher percentage but had a lower starting rate. Thus far, tuition increases across the state have ranged from 1.07 to 8.90 percent, but most have been at or near 3.75 percent.
PAYMENT PLANS: Now that tuition and fee rates have been set, the Student Service Center will be preparing billing statements. Statements will be available, tentatively, on Friday, July 19, on NMU’s e-bill system. Paper bills are not mailed. Students must log in to their online student account via MyNMU (http://mynmu.nmu.edu) to access the e-bill system. Tuition and fees, along with room and board, are due Wednesday, Aug. 7. Northern offers several different payment plan options that are explained at www.nmu.edu/paymentplans. Your NMU student can authorize you to have access to review the billing statement by logging into the e-bill system via MyNMU, selecting the “authorized user” tab and entering your email address.
INTERESTING ARTICLES: Last Sunday, the Detroit Free Press ran an article titled, “Michigan colleges more affordable than others, national study finds.” The story said Michigan ranked 39th among the 50 states in net tuition increases when comparing 2009-10 to 2010-11. Net tuition is the actual dollar figure paid by the student when all financial aid resources are factored in. It is the price point that prospective students should be most aware of when considering cost in their college selection process. The study found that Michigan was one of nine states to see a drop in the amount of net tuition, which fell 1.9 percent. When you consider that Michigan was 39th of 50 and that NMU is the second most affordable of the Michigan schools, you start to understand how hard faculty, staff and administrators work to keep costs down but quality high. Another article that may be of interest to you was written by Kristi Evans, NMU news director, on how the recent federal legislation doubling the student loan interest rates could impact NMU students, which you can read here. As the story points out, our hope is that the legislators take action quickly to reverse this legislation.
CHECK E-MAIL: Please ask your NMU student if they’ve checked their NMU email account lately. Northern’s official method of communication is email to NMU accounts. At this time of year, several offices are sending important information to your son or daughter. These might include the Financial Aid Office updating them on what documents still need to be completed to award financial aid, Housing and Residence Life with detailed residence hall move-in information or Asset Management with computer distribution times. There is a good chance the answers to the questions you or your student still have related to the upcoming semester are sitting in your daughter’s or son’s NMU email box. Checking one’s online account is also a way for NMU students to track their financial aid awarding process. One important change this year is that students eligible for student loans must indicate if they plan to use the loans or not. In the past, a student needed to let the Financial Aid Office know only if they wanted to take out the loans. Students will make their loan verifications at MyNMU (http://mynmu.nmu.edu).
HOUSING INFORMATION: Room assignments, roommate and move-in information for students living in NMU’s residence halls will be mailed to their home addresses around the start of August. Once NMU students receive this information, we encourage them to contact their roommates to coordinate who is bringing what for the room. The frequently asked questions page on the Housing website (www.nmu.edu/housing) has measurements (room size, ceiling height, window dimensions, etc.) that you and your student might find helpful. The assignment letter also contains information about bed/mattress sizes – as we’ve been replacing furniture in various halls, we’ve been buying longer beds – and links to information about loft options. The fall semester housing contract for the residence halls begins at 8 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 22, which is the earliest a student may move into their room without incurring an extra charge. Students will not be allowed to check into their rooms before Aug. 22 unless they part of an NMU group or team approved for early arrival. For students who plan to live off campus but don’t yet have accommodations, the Dean of Students Office website (www.nmu.edu/dso) maintains an online off-campus housing list.
TEXTBOOKS: Textbook reservations can be made through EasyTEXT, which is a way to get to the front of the line for used books at the NMU Bookstore (www.nmu.edu/bookstore). Your student simply needs to log in to the campus portal MyNMU (http://mynmu.nmu.edu), select the "Student Services" tab, click the link for the NMU Bookstore and complete the form. The bookstore staff will have their textbooks ready and waiting for pickup beginning Thursday, Aug. 22. Pre-orders can be made until Monday, Aug. 12. The NMU Bookstore also offers a textbook comparison service. Click on the “buy” textbooks link at the top of www.nmu.edu/bookstore and choose the term and classes. The software will search the web for textbook prices and give you the options available, including the price at the NMU Bookstore for buying or renting a particular book.
HOTEL ACCOMMODATIONS: If you have a son or daughter who will be a December or May graduate participating in commencement and you and family members are coming to Marquette for the ceremony, please make your hotel reservations now. I cannot stress this strongly enough. Marquette’s hotels and motels book up months in advance of commencement, so making arrangements a year out is not too proactive. Area hotel managers constantly remind us to get the word out to family members about making early reservations. I’d also recommend making hotel reservations early if you plan to attend NMU’s Family Weekend, Oct. 25-27. That’s another time when the hotels closest to campus fill quickly. In fact, there is so much going on in Marquette on a regular basis, the best advice I can give you is that if you plan to come to visit at any point in the year, make lodging arrangements as soon as you know the dates. We love to have you visit; we just feel bad when you come and have to stay miles away from campus!
NMU RECOGNIZED: I’m proud to announce that Northern Michigan University received the 2013 Engaged Campus of the Year Award from Michigan Campus Compact, which is a very special honor. At Northern, we have made a conscious, serious and determined effort to provide a community-based education for our students. It’s great that we’re gaining statewide recognition for our work. I hope your son or daughter is taking advantage of the many opportunities they have to be engaged members of the campus and Marquette communities. I know they will gain a lot from their experiences. To learn more about way to become an engaged citizen while at NMU, visit the websites for academic service learning, the NMU Volunteer Center, and NMU’s two leadership programs: Superior Edge and Student Leader Fellowship Program.
I’d like to close by inviting you to join my Twitter community for short, daily updates about what’s happening on campus and links to NMU and higher education-related resources. You can view my Twitter posts at www.nmu.edu/president or join the community at www.twitter.com@davidshaynes. As always, I look forward to seeing and meeting you and your sons and daughters on campus this fall.
David Haynes, NMU President