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Posted on Tue, Apr 20, 2010 : 5:56 p.m.

Eastern Michigan University announces '0, 0, 0' plan to freeze tuition, fees

By Ronald Ahrens

Eastern Michigan University students won't feel the pain of state budget cuts next year.

The EMU Board of Regents approved a plan this afternoon amid much fanfare that will freeze tuition and room and board costs for the next academic year.

When the proposal passed unanimously, it was met with much applause from those gathered for the meeting. EMU President Susan Martin unveiled a 0% increase T-shirt at a press conference after the meeting.


EMU President Susan Martin shows off a 0% T-shirt signifying the university's tuition freeze.

Ronald Ahrens | For

While Martin called the freeze “a risk to our bottom line and credit rating at a time of declining state support,” she said it must be taken.

“Economic conditions faced by Michigan’s students and their families are challenging—the worst I’ve seen in my lifetime," she said. "This is the right recommendation at the right time.”

EMU is labeling the initiative the "0, 0, 0" because no increase will occur in tuition, room and board and mandatory fees.

The goal, officials say, is to boost enrollment and to bolster the university's bottom line. That could help offset a proposed 3.1 percent higher education funding cut the Michigan Legislature is considering.

Martin noted that four-year savings of $4 million in expenditures for utilities have helped EMU bring down overall costs.

Regents said they can't recall a time in the past 30 years when tuition didn't increase.

In the press conference after the meeting, Michigan Senator Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, said he salutes EMU’s leadership.

“Thank you for setting an example for the 14 other state universities,” he said.

EMU’s enrollment grew by 933 students last fall, the first increase in six years. Overall enrollment is approximately 23,000.

Officials expressed confidence the tuition freeze would encourage additional growth. Martin targeted a 3.4-percent increase in enrollment.

A 1-percent increase means $1.4 million in added revenue through tuition receipts, said Regents chairman Roy Wilbanks.

“It’s been a big two days for us,” Wilbanks said. “Yesterday we had several events to kick off our comprehensive campaign, a $50-milion campaign to help the university. And then today, by holding the tuition down, we’re anticipating, obviously, a bigger growth in student enrollment.”

The three-year program called “Invest. Inspire. The Campaign for Eastern Michigan University” seeks to raise $50 million for scholarships, programs and faculty. Facilities and endowments will also benefit.

The tuition decision was made earlier than usual this year. Last year, when the EMU Regents approved a 3.8 percent increase in June, they noted it was the lowest increase among the state's 15 public institutions.

That followed a 7.7 percent increase at EMU the year before.

In-state undergraduates at EMU now pay $8,377 in annual tuition and fees.

Martin said the risk in the tuition freeze comes from the fact that “we don’t have strong reserves, and we have just borrowed a significant amount of money.” 

The $90 million science complex that’s under construction is EMU’s largest project ever. Renovation of the Pray-Harrold classroom building is also scheduled.

Wilbanks said he’s “proud of the construction and the new (campus) look as we go to the future.”

At today's meeting, regents also approved the university's $280.9 million budget.

Ronald Ahrens is a freelance writer for Reach the news desk at or 734-623-2530.



Wed, Apr 21, 2010 : 12:43 p.m.

@bruceae: The in-state to out-of-state ratio at UM has stayed more or less constant at 2:1 for about a decade. It is still easier for an in-state student than for an out of state student with exactly the same academic credentials to get admitted. And, the in-state tuition break is worth roughly $400M, whereas the state appropriaton for UM is roughly $300M and shrinking. So, the out-of-state and foreign students that you rail against are actually subsidizing the education of Michigan studnets to the tune of $100M per year, or an estimated $3000 per student.


Wed, Apr 21, 2010 : 10:57 a.m.

@Rizzle: The difference between U of M and Eastern is that U of M has 7 applications for every one they let in. They are not at all worried about the cost since they can fill every spot. Plus, every in state student that can't afford to go to U of M opens up another spot for a higher paying foreign student. Hopefully, Eastern does well with this and the State Legislature recognizes that they truely care about the in state kids and increases the aid. I'm sick of seeing U of M being subsidized by my tax dollars while they do everything they can to bring in out of state and foreign kids.


Wed, Apr 21, 2010 : 10:19 a.m.

It would be interesting to see the staff and faculty's take on this issue. Some are worried that if the proposed five percent increase in enrollment isn't met, that could mean cuts to benefits, pay or even worse...layoffs.


Wed, Apr 21, 2010 : 9:59 a.m.

I'm sure the University of Michigan will declare their 5 to 6% increase very soon.


Wed, Apr 21, 2010 : 5:16 a.m.

Hooray for EMU! To the Eastern Michigan Board of Regents and to the administrators at EMU a hardy "Thank you!" We can all think of public entities that keep building and spending in spite of the hardship they create for taxpayers. It's refreshing to see a public entity recognize and respect the taxpayers in this way. Hats off to EMU!

Alan Caldwell

Wed, Apr 21, 2010 : 5:15 a.m.

EMU is to be hugely commended! What leadership! Let's hope the neighbor up the street in Ann Arbor takes note!


Wed, Apr 21, 2010 : 3:04 a.m.

As the parent of a freshman entering this fall at EMU, of whom's Grandmother obtained her teacher degree and both parents who attended EMU, what a very moral thing to do. Having the courage to take this stance is very enlightening. Though I was proud before, I am even more proud to be a Huron...err...Eagle! And gee how my wallet thanks you. Best wishes EMU!

Paul Taylor

Wed, Apr 21, 2010 : 2:13 a.m.

EMU *is* a state university.

Anonymous Due to Bigotry

Tue, Apr 20, 2010 : 10:26 p.m.

Wow, a state U that actually cares about people in the state!


Tue, Apr 20, 2010 : 9:03 p.m.

Good for EMU... I have two degrees from EMU, my son also graduated from EMU... a good school... Kudos for taking this position!

dading dont delete me bro

Tue, Apr 20, 2010 : 8:42 p.m.

excellant! as a student, i applaud emu! i hope they get many, many more students!

walt w

Tue, Apr 20, 2010 : 7:42 p.m.

Gee all that without a governmental mandate WOW,I didn't think anyone was capable of doing the right thing without the government forcing them to (sarcasm)


Tue, Apr 20, 2010 : 7:37 p.m.

Of course they'd do this as I am graduating from there this June. Well at least if I want to go for a Masters degree I won't have to worry about a surprise increase for 2011. Now lets see some of the State Universities start lowering tuition!

Matt Cooper

Tue, Apr 20, 2010 : 7:29 p.m.

Outstanding!!! Great job, EMU!


Tue, Apr 20, 2010 : 7:08 p.m.

Bravo! thank you EMU! This will help a lot of students and probably draw additional applications for EMU.