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Ferris board of trustees approve tuition and fees, room and board

BIG RAPIDS - The Ferris State University board of trustees today approved tuition and fees, and room and board rate changes for the 2006-07 academic year to offset rising state-mandated retirement and utility costs and to include additional funding for student scholarships.

The result is an average 5.68 percent increase in tuition and fees, which is less than the University's original recommendation of an average 6.1 percent increase.

Ferris President David L. Eisler noted, after a closed session to discuss the tuition recommendation, that the University has chosen to make additional internal budget reductions totaling $1.1 million to keep Ferris' tuition as affordable as possible for its students. The budget reductions will also help fund a $1.2 million increase in state-mandated retirement contributions for the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System.

With the increase, full-time, resident undergraduate students enrolled in 15 credit hours will pay $3,600 per semester or $7,200 annually in tuition and fees.

A full-time student living in a Ferris residence hall who purchases the 15 or 19 meals a week plan will pay $3,610 per semester for room and board, beginning this fall. The change in room and board rates translates into a 5.9 percent increase, which covers rising utility costs, ongoing maintenance and additional costs for student wages as a result of an increase in the state minimum wage.

Total costs for a full-time, resident undergraduate to attend Ferris for the 2006-07 academic year will be $14,420 annually for room and board, and tuition and fees.

At Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University in Grand Rapids tuition will increase an average of 6.81 percent or $780 from $11,460 to $12,240 annually for a full-time resident undergraduate.

In other business, the board of trustees also approved

--the closure of an associates degree program in Automotive Body Technology, effective this fall, with currently enrolled students allowed to complete the program.

--the extension of a lease agreement with LaBelle Management to manage and operate the University's Holiday Inn Hotel and Conference Center in Big Rapids.

--the acceptance of a gift of a 79-acre parcel of property located on U.S. 10 in Hersey Township of Osceola County. The property is owned by Ferris and Jean Leach of Hersey. The University's intention is to sell the property, the proceeds of which will establish the Ferris and Jean Leach Mathematics and Science Endowment.

--to purchase WebCT's Vista product to replace the current online learning software Ferris uses, which has been discontinued.

--the implementation of a 457(b) retirement plan option for employees in addition to the existing 403(b) option which will allow them to save more money for retirement on a pre-tax basis, via payroll deduction.

--the re-election of Arthur L. Tebo of Walloon Lake as board chair, James K. Haveman Jr. of Grand Rapids as vice chair and R. Thomas Cook of Fife Lake as secretary.