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Ferris Board of Trustees Approve Tuition, Room and Board Increases

BIG RAPIDS – The Ferris State University Board of Trustees today approved increases in tuition averaging 6.7 percent and room and board rates of 5.9 percent for the 2007-08 academic year.

To help offset the tuition and room and board increases, Ferris has increased its University-based scholarships by more than 20 percent from $9.4 million to $11.4 million, including a number of new or significantly increased scholarships such as those for veterans and transfer students.

Tuition for continuing full-time resident undergraduates enrolled in 14-15 credits will be $3,840 per semester or $7,680 annually, an increase of $240. Room and board residence hall rates for students will rise from $7,220 to $7,646 for a standard occupancy room and 19 meals. The increase will allow the University to continue providing quality and flexibility in housing and dining options and to maintain facilities.

Only continuing resident undergraduates who fall into the 14-15 credit tuition window are eligible for a block tuition rate since the University is in its third year of transitioning into a strictly per-credit structure. New resident undergraduates will pay $282 per credit hour this fall, with their tuition totaling $4,230 per semester or $8,460 annually based on 15 credits. The per credit hour tuition rate of $355 for resident graduate students will rise to $379.

Kendall College of Art and Design students will see a 6.97 percent average increase in their tuition. Students enrolled in 15 credits (3 studio and 2 general education classes) will pay $6,550 in tuition per semester.

According to Ferris President David Eisler, the tuition increases are necessary given the uncertainty surrounding state funding. “Ferris State University faces a decrease from last year’s state approved budget that could be as large as $6 million. This reflects the combined impact of state reductions to balance the 2006-07 budget, the deferment of our August appropriation payment and a decrease in funding to support MPSERS retiree pensions and health benefits.” Over the last five years, Ferris State University has lost 12.65 percent of its state funding.

Eisler said that concerns regarding continued state appropriations reductions for next year led the University to further protect University operations by imposing a state contingency charge averaging $8 per credit hour for undergraduates which will generate $2 million. “Our hope is that the contingency charge will apply only to the fall semester but that will depend on whether the state meets its obligations.”

He added, “Despite the difficulties our state faces, Ferris State University is attracting and retaining students in record numbers and our graduates continue to find good jobs. For the fourth consecutive year, enrollment is up for summer semester and applications for fall semester are running well ahead of last year. Our commitment is to maintain the high level of educational opportunity we provide our students even as the state reduces its support.”

Among other actions, the board approved the following:

· The election of board officers for 2007-08: James K. Haveman of Grand Haven, chair; R. Thomas Cook of Fife Lake, vice chair; and Patrick La Pine of Farmington, secretary.

· A 2007-08 general fund budget of $158.6 million which projects a state appropriation of $49.2 million and reflects tuition, contingency charge and other revenue.

· The establishment of a one-of-a-kind Bachelor of Science in Digital Media Software Engineering degree at Ferris’ Grand Rapids campus that will complement the Bachelor of Applied Science in Digital Animation and Video Game Design degree program. The new degree program emphasizes interactive software development whereas other programs focus on theoretical computer science.

· The addition of a Special Event and Meeting Planning concentration to its existing Bachelor of Science in Resort Management degree providing resort majors an opportunity to become more specialized in the meeting and event planning industry.

· An agreement with Southwestern Michigan College in Dowagiac to hire a full-time SMC employee who will serve as a coordinator for Ferris and provide advising and scheduling and assistance with promotional services.

· A modification to the Hamtramck Bridge Academy charter school contract allowing pre-kindergarten students to enroll so the school will now be designated as Pre-K-12.

· A sabbatical leave request for Biology Professor James Hoerter, whose Fulbright Scholarship as a visiting scientist at the Dublin Institute of Technology will help establish an educational research partnership between DIT and Ferris’ biotechnology program.

· Tenure for 26 faculty for 2007-08.

· The appointment of Tom Oldfield as acting vice president for academic affairs for up to a year while a national search for a provost/VPAA is conducted. He will also continue in his role as dean of the College of Technology.

· The three-year appointment of David Pilgrim as chief diversity officer.

The next full meeting of the board of trustees will take place on Friday, Nov. 9, at 1:30 p.m. in Big Rapids.