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Posted on Tue, Jun 21, 2011 : 5:27 p.m.

Eastern Michigan University regents approve tuition increase and layoffs

By Kyle Feldscher

Eastern Michigan University students will see a 3.65 percent increase in tuition — the lowest increase among state public universities — and about 70 positions will be cut as a part of the university’s 2011-12 budget.

The university’s Board of Regents voted unanimously to approve the budget in Tuesday’s meeting. The tuition increases and staffing cuts were a part of the $281.4 million university budget for the 2011-12 school year.

Earlier this year, the regents approved a 2.15 percent increase in room and board rates, including a 3 percent raise in rates for university apartments.

The tuition and fees increase will cost an undergraduate student taking 30 credit hours in a school year approximately $8,683, a $306 increase from the 2010-11 school year. The increase is about $10.20 per credit hour.

The increase will help fill an estimated $24 million combined loss from state funding and increased expenses for the coming school year. The general fund budget for the 2011-12 school year is $281.4 million.

President Susan Martin became choked up during the meeting when speaking about the budget cuts and said the budget process -- including the layoff of 40 employees and the elimination of another 30 positions through attrition -- was extremely hard for the university..

“This is a painful moment for Eastern,” she said.

The raise in tuition and fees is among the lowest in the state among public universities, compared to the 6.7 percent rise in tuition at the University of Michigan and the 6.9 percent hike to students at Michigan State University.

The university did not increase tuition for the 2010-11 school year and increased tuition by the same 3.65 percent in 2009-10. The tuition and fees increase will raise about $11 million for the university, according to university officials.

Regents said the decision to increase tuition will ultimately serve the student body well because of the improvements that will come from the increased amount of revenue.

Regent James Stapleton said the process had been thoughtful and regents had worked hard to make the right call for the school.

“I’ve never been involved with a process as difficult as this or as important as this,” he said. “We serve the people of Michigan and I think we served them well today.”

Martin said the increase in tuition will allow for a number of improvements in the student experience. She said a number of construction projects will be able to continue and the university will be able to provide more parking for students.

“We’ll continue on through the 122 buildings,” she said. “We’ve allowed some infrastructure to become too decrepit and we’re tackling that.”

The tuition increase was also well-received by the president of the Eastern Michigan University Student Government.

President Jelani McGadney said he recognized the decision to raise tuition was a difficult one for regents, but ultimately said it would be appreciated by students.

“It is a courageous decision because students cannot handle the increases that other universities have gone with,” he said.

The decision to eliminate 70 positions through attrition and the layoff of 40 employees was an extremely difficult one, officials said.

None of the layoffs will come from faculty members and are being spread around other departments at the university. The budget includes no raises for non-union employees.

Roy Wilbanks, chair of the Board of Regents, said it was difficult to know 40 university employees will have to be laid off as a part of the budget.

“I know most of those people,” Wilbanks said. “We were very arduous in our task and we tried to eliminate as much as we could and those are people who have been there for a while.”

The decision on the budget was the culmination of an intense discussion on the value of EMU’s staff that went on throughout the budget process.

Earlier in the budget process, Martin had asked faculty members to forego scheduled raises. The request was ultimately rejected by the various unions at the school

Regents were spoken to by a number of adjunct faculty during the meeting who lobbied for an increase in compensation. According to information from the Eastern Michigan University Federation of Teachers, the average adjunct faculty member makes about $12,000 per year and has no health, dental, mental or vision care offered by EMU.

Lisa Laverty, a lecturer at the university, said the cut to academic services at the university will harm the student experience for students at the school, including her son, who attends classes at the university as a part of the Early College Alliance and will continue to study at EMU for his bachelor’s degree.

Laverty said the university is sending a message to students that educators are not important and their relationships with students are similarly unimportant.

“Services will be less accessible, staff less available and faculty less able to provide extra programs that enrich students’ educations,” she said.

EMU chief financial officer John Lumm said administrators had worked very hard to limit tuition increases and keep cuts away from students.

“The budget was developed with a large focus on students, both in terms of minimizing the tuition increase and also by ensuring the efficiency actions being implemented do not impact students in the classroom,” Lumm said.

Kyle Feldscher covers K-12 education for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.



Wed, Jun 22, 2011 : 10:41 p.m.

The layoffs will occur through positions that were (previously) vacant and will not be filled then the balance will be through layoffs. If administration chooses to give on their end (which I doubt), they will give back the massive raises they received effective January 15, 2011. They will give up their vehicle allocations; Martin will give up her $50+ Ford MkT, cell phone allowances to all of the bigwigs will go away. The bonuses that have been paid to all of the suits will be given back. Hm - if I could guess the total value of all of those items - it probably totals somewhere between 500K - a cool million. That could go a long way to helping education instead of helping the suits. Will somebody place a FOIA on administrators (those reporting directly to Martin) for their salaries and bonuses year to date and retro to 2008? We will see quite an interesting portrait.


Thu, Jun 23, 2011 : 2:25 a.m.

Fully agree, why do these clothes horses derserve so much salary, do they add value to the University? Welfare for the rich is what I call it.


Wed, Jun 22, 2011 : 7:55 p.m.

Gotta offset the 0%,0%,0% from last year somehow! Maybe we can do the 0,0,0 every other year and instead of increasing tuition 1.5% annually we can just increase tuition 3% every other year. At least that way we can have a nice PR campaign every other year.


Wed, Jun 22, 2011 : 6:18 p.m.

Don't be mad at Susan Martin or Swoop, the EMU Eagle. I say be mad at Governor Snyder and his budget. Snyder's $1.7 Billion (college support gutting) business tax cut lead to these tuition increases. The extra $306 I and the rest of my fellow EMUers will pay amounts to a College Tax to provide a gift to CEO's and share holders. The tuition increase and the layoff comes to the amount EMU would have received from the state. So who should you be mad at here, the person who had to deal with a bad situation or the person who created it in the first place? I say all 23,000 EMU students should send Snyder the bill for our tuition increase. For those keeping score, we can now minus 70 jobs on Snyders job creation score board.

Greg Gunner

Wed, Jun 22, 2011 : 4:20 p.m.

Let's see if I got this straight. We take money from the K-12 school aid fund. We give some of it to the community Colleges. K-12 schools and our universities are forced to make lay-offs, increase class sizes, and impose salary and benefit cuts to balance their budgets. These unemployed or under-paid public servants are forced to cut back on discretionary spending to keep paying their mortgages and other mopnthly bills. They spend less on non-necessities. The state income tax and sales receipts are lowered as salaries are decreased and spending decreases. The wealthy business owners get a tax cut. They invest it in stock and bonds to increase their own personal wealth. No jobs are created, because the spendng public is not out spending. Thousands of potential tax payers leave the state in search of a job that pays more than the minimum wage. Slick Rick's plan has worked out just as planned. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. The economy goes into a tail-spin because no one is out buying.


Wed, Jun 22, 2011 : 3:16 p.m.

Sounds like they are doing exactly what they need to do when faced with a budget shortfall; Increase revenue and reduce spending. Good for them.

John Davis

Wed, Jun 22, 2011 : 2:55 p.m.

But what is really important--there will still be football! True, it is maintained by straw purchases of tickets to meet the minimums and the team can't win a game but the mere existence of the team is a baseline requirement. Without football, a university is nothing but a bunch of geeks peering at books all day. That's not what America is all about. It is amazing to me that the president of the university could get all choked up about layoffs and a serious threat to the scholastic standing of the university with a cash draining athletic program that doesn't make enough money to mow the grass on the nearly empty football field. Is it the Protestant Ethic? Homophobia? Fox News? You tell me. I honestly don't know.

Glen S.

Wed, Jun 22, 2011 : 2:08 p.m.

Let's see: 70 fewer people with jobs that offer decent pay and benefits = 70 families who are able to own homes, pay for utilities, shopin local stores, eat in local restaurants, and pay local and state income and property taxes. So, next year, there will be even less money in the state budget, which will require more cuts, etc., etc., etc. Will somebody explain to me again how all these cuts (at EMU and elsewhere) are going to help either the local or state economy in the long run?


Wed, Jun 22, 2011 : 6:29 p.m.

Well if I follow your logic, if state and local govt, public universities, et al hired enough people, the economy would would be booming again? But, where's the money going to come from? EMU is doing the responsible thing, they don't have the money so they can't pay these people. They need to get their budget balanced. These institutions, and state and local govt, need to get on a fiscally sustainable path, not try to burden taxpayers and students by raising revenues.


Wed, Jun 22, 2011 : 1:15 p.m.

Here are some little known facts about EMU faculty! There are 500 faculty members that make under $12000 a year with no raises being given since the 70's and NO benefits. This is not an exaggeration! There are 100 faculty members that are required to teach more classes per semester than any other faculty member in the state, but are paid on average $36000. The rest of the faculty are some of the lowest paid in the state or MAC conference. There are no "BIG" salaries for faculty here, unless you become an administrator, resign your position and keep your administrative salary when you return to faculty status.


Wed, Jun 22, 2011 : 3:21 p.m.

exactly what toofmullets said, they are part time employee's. I have never worked a part time job that was 1) well paying and 2) had benefits, nor expected it and this includes jobs that are typically well paying (better than college professor) with good benefits for full timers.


Wed, Jun 22, 2011 : 2:49 p.m.

for what its worth, I believe the 500 that make 12k aren't "faculty", they're part time lecturers. There's a big difference. I think the lecturers at EMU are treated quite poorly.


Wed, Jun 22, 2011 : 1:06 p.m.

"[President Martin] said a number of construction projects will be able to continue and the university will be able to provide more parking for students." The University's efforts to keep tuition affordable are admirable--last year's 0% increase, and this year's increase of only half other school's do show EMU's commitment to accessibility. However, this statement makes me twitch a little. This past semester, the candidates for EMU's student assembly President were trying to outdo each other with ideas for how to improve transit access to campus; UMich, down the street, has long since realized that it's more affordable (for the school and students alike) to hand out bus passes than to try to meet all of their needs with parking. With gas prices high, students want options, but EMU has stuck to their "Parking First" approach. At a time when the students themselves are asking for other options, it's a shame EMU is citing "more parking" as a reason to raise tuition.


Wed, Jun 22, 2011 : 3:16 p.m.

When I was an undergrad back in 2007 I approached EMU with a proposal to work out a deal with AATA to offer subsidized bus passes to students to ease student costs, but also to relieve the parking problem. EMU's response was basically that students don't want to take the bus since EMU is a commuter school. That's why Route 3, 4, 5 and 6 are packed during school hours.

Steve Pepple

Wed, Jun 22, 2011 : 12:43 p.m.

The story has been updated to make it clear that 30 of the 70 positions would be eliminated through attrition.


Wed, Jun 22, 2011 : 12:13 p.m.

"EMU chief financial officer John Lumm said administrators had worked very hard to limit tuition increases and keep cuts away from students." Oh puleeeeeze John, what a bunch of baloney. Despite the horrendous economy , you gave your facutly pay raises last year well knowing this day was coming. Good Day


Wed, Jun 22, 2011 : 11:53 a.m.

These are the ones I like the best. "It is a courageous decision...", "We'll continue on through the 122 buildings," and "None of the layoffs will come from faculty members". The easiest thing any University can do it bump up tuition. The most courageous thing that any public University can do is fight the status quo and cut spending. Shamefully most American public Universities have forgotten their primary mandate is to deliver high quality affordable education for the residents of the states. Tuition, fees, books and other expenses should be going down 5% every year, because at $8,000 - $10,000 it is about twice what it should be. Sadly, the University is busy constructing new building, paying big salaries to "faculty" and "administration" and worrying about how to pump more money into the football team. Residents of Michigan, SPEAK UP! Time to demand cost cutting, not more increases!


Thu, Jun 23, 2011 : 2:53 p.m.

But who decides what to cut? I agree that there is waste and costs should be cut; but not mid-level administrators, support personnel, secretaries, and custodians who keep the university running so that faculty can teach and students can learn. The regents gave high honors to our track and golf teams and in so doing noted the 19 MAC championship teams-- will that EVER happen in the board favorite, i.e. FOOTBALL? Key regents are trying to relive glory days which, like anyone who has gone to a HS renunion, were never really that glorious. But realistically, that will NEVER happen so then what? How about holding the Foundation's feet to the fire? When a 3.5 million donation is the largest in EMU history, and not a single new building is named by someone who donated $$$, EMU has a long, long way to go.

Lac Court Orilles

Wed, Jun 22, 2011 : 11:34 a.m.

Let's all see if Representative Rick Olson and Senator Randy Richardville will reward Eastern Michigan University's financial restraint with a long overdue capital outlay instead of sending money again to the rich university just down the street.


Wed, Jun 22, 2011 : 2:36 a.m.

So when do we find out who got axed? Because I'd bet a year's salary that anyone making the top money won't be touched. The president made a big deal about not accepting her bonus and raise. Big FAT DEAL when you make $300k and have a free house and free car and free health insurance and other perks. I wonder how much impact it would have made if she and her top executives each gave up about $25,000 - and they'd still make three to five times what the average person makes. Or more.

2X EMU Alum

Wed, Jun 22, 2011 : 2:36 a.m.

"President Susan Martin became choked up during the meeting when speaking about the budget cuts and said the budget process, including the layoff of 40 employees, was extremely hard for the university." Really? That wasn't her tone last Friday when interviewed on WEMU. Everything was great last week, even though the cards were already dealt. This wasn't hard for the university. It will, however, be extremely difficult for those who will be told - as early as tomorrow - "We no longer value you as a person and your contributions. Good luck finding something else in this economic environment." So how is it there was magically enough money to give the Chief of Police a handsome salary increase to entice him to not look elsewhere? Was it really necessary for the Board of Regents to appoint not only a full time secretary to the Board, but elevate this position to one of Vice President and Secretary to the Board when they meet approximately six times a year. As recently as five years ago this role was handled very well by a part-time person making around $30K. The new position pays $127K. Nice gig, if you can get it. Then there is the burning question as to whether it even makes sense for EMU to have athletics. With the revenue-generating teams sucking up large sums of money, it's pretty hard to justify. I also noticed when logging onto this evening the lovely new banner announcing the largest monetary gift received to date. Way to mask over the true emotions circulating on campus.


Wed, Jun 22, 2011 : 1:22 a.m.

I am personally more impressed that EMU managed to only on crease rates by 1/2 of what u of m raised their rates. At least Emu tried. Why can't michigan do that. And yes, I purposely didn't capitalize that other school because they don't deserve that much respect.


Wed, Jun 22, 2011 : 9:14 p.m.

Keep telling yourself that Blue Marker, I graduated from EMU just 3 years ago and earn at least three times that of friends of mine that have a shiny UM degree. The person matters more than the institution granting said degree.

Blue Marker

Wed, Jun 22, 2011 : 2:30 p.m.

A UM degree will pay you that difference and more. As a parent paying tuition it stings but it's an investment, not a cost.

Lamont Cranston

Tue, Jun 21, 2011 : 11:43 p.m.

I disagree with Lisa Laverty's comment "Laverty said the university is sending a message to students that educators are not important and their relationships with students are similarly unimportant.". Her child is learning an important lesson in life, that there are tough economic choices that have to be made. This will not be the last time that she will, the university will or her future employers will have tough decisions to make.


Thu, Jun 23, 2011 : 3:30 p.m.

Everybody understands: tough times, tough decisions. However, the cuts that the Regents made were ill-thought out and, despite the President's public pronouncements to the contrary, these cuts will indeed, harm students. It would have been possible to find other ways to close budgetary gaps that would have preserved services for students (and preserved jobs). Various campus constituencies tried to have an honest dialogue about these tough decisions, but unfortunately, the right choices were not the ones EMU opted for.


Tue, Jun 21, 2011 : 11:12 p.m.

The Regents decide to lay off 40 employees - mostly lower paid staff who are the sacrificial lambs. Meanwhile the highest paid administrators including a puppet President - all who got fat raises last January - are spared along with the "financial black hole department" aka. athletics, which also continues to be supported. This is beyond immoral and should outrage anyone who cares about the academic future of the university. Is there no accountability for these supposed "leaders"???

Geoff Larcom

Tue, Jun 21, 2011 : 10:42 p.m.

The 70 figure would include open positions that will not be filled.

Rootie Kazootie

Tue, Jun 21, 2011 : 10:10 p.m.

This isn't clear. Is it "110" total? Or are the "40" part of the "70"?

Kyle Feldscher

Tue, Jun 21, 2011 : 10:32 p.m.

The 40 are part of the 70.


Tue, Jun 21, 2011 : 9:54 p.m.

Just looking for some clarification- the article says about 70 positions will be cut, but only 40 layoffs. How does that work out?

Kyle Feldscher

Tue, Jun 21, 2011 : 10:31 p.m.

Meredith: The positions that are being cut are not necessarily filled. They could be people who are resigning or retiring who will not be replaced, positions that are currently vacant or positions that are filled. Forty of the positions that are going to be eliminated are filled right now, which will result in layoffs.


Tue, Jun 21, 2011 : 10:02 p.m.

Nevermind- looks like the article was just updated.