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Posted on Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 6 p.m.

U-M among universities nationwide with slowest rates of increased costs

By Chelsea Hoedl

Thumbnail image for UofMCampus_JT_04_walking_student.jpg

The University of Michigan saw improvements in three of the four categories of the 2013 College Affordability and Transparency Lists.

According to the new federal college affordability ranking released by the United States Department of Education Thursday, the University of Michigan has one of the nation’s slowest rates of growth in net costs among four-year public universities.

The university dropped lower in three of the four categories of the 2013 College Affordability and Transparency Lists, which is good news — lower on the list means more affordable for students.

This year, the University of Michigan was ranked 600th out of 640 public four-year universities for percentage increase in net price. This is an improvement from last year’s ranking of 568th.

Net price reflects cost minus financial aid, Associate Director at U-M's Office of Public Affairs and Internal Communications Rick Fitzgerald said.

“The most significant ranking for us is the percentage increase in net price,” Fitzgerald said. “We’re among the lowest, which is really important because it reflects the university’s strategic increase in the amount of financial aid it offers.”

Ranked as 52nd for overall tuition and fees, the university saw an improvement from last year’s ranking of 49th.

Improvement also was seen in the university’s net-price ranking, falling to number 114 this year from number 77 last year.

Percentage increase in tuition and fees was the only category where the university did not see an improvement. Last year the ranking was 520th, but this year the university moved up in the rankings to 481st.

For the 3rd year in a row, U-M is among the lowest in the four-year public university transparency and affordability rankings.

“We think the affordability rankings underscore the point that the university has been very aggressively boosting financial aid, which drives down the net costs,” Fitzgerald said. “The results show that our effort to make college more affordable for more of our students is working. Seventy percent of in-state undergraduates receive some form of financial aid, so this is something that affects a large portion of our students.”

Chelsea Hoedl is an intern reporter for AnnArbor.com. She can be reached at choedl@mlive.com.

Comments

jcj

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 1:35 a.m.

This information is useless without information on the actual cost comparisons! Is there a chance the U has been charging so much for so long that even with the "slowest rates of growth in net costs" They are still one of the most expensive 4 year Universities?

blue85

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 6:50 p.m.

So, if you are watching, for example, a beauty contest, and you get ordinal information like "3rd runner up" are you saying that tells you nothing? Would you expect: 1) hair 10% more shiny; 2) walk 5% less wobble? "charging so much for so long that even with the "slowest rates of growth in net costs" Have you taken calculus? "Charging so much" in this case is analogous to the integral; "rate" is analogous to the derivative. Since functions may not exhibit strict dominance over time, isn't it good to know that the derivative is slowing down for a cost? Were there dominance, isn't it possible that the function which is growing more slowly will eventually fall below a currently lower function?

jcj

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 2:59 a.m.

Ignatz If you don't believe it . Just ask them!

Ignatz

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 1:53 a.m.

Because they're one of the best!

jcj

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 1:37 a.m.

To expound.. If I have been charging $1.50 for a pencil while everyone else was charging $0.50 why should I have to increase my price at a great rate?

say it plain

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 1:08 a.m.

This article is nearly un-interpretable, yeesh... unclear which numbers mean what, the ordering of the rankings, etc, even the terms used to tell us the categories themselves... what stands out most to me is how the title is "U-M among universties nationwide with slowest rates of increased costs", whatever that means lol, and then the line in the article body: "percentage increase in tuition and fees was the only category in which the university didn't see an improvement".

Dog Guy

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 12:47 a.m.

The no-options new Ford Falcon I bought at Henderson Ford while I was paying $308 per-year tuition at U. of M. for as many credits as I wanted to take cost $1754 out-the door. Now that tuition is $14,618 for 15-18 credits, why doesn't a Ford Focus cost $83,000?

blue85

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 6:45 p.m.

"Now that tuition is $14,618 for 15-18 credits, why doesn't a Ford Focus cost $83,000?" Several answers: 1) if the Ford Focus building entity had been receiving a government subsidy of some sort, and we know that the US government provides many subsidies to many industries so this is not a far-fetched analogy, and if that subsidy were then cut, the cost would go up; 2) HEPI, the index for inflation in higher education, routinely rises faster than CPI. HEPI is loaded toward the cost of creating intellectual property. Intellectual property is not yet (perhaps MOOCs will help?) scalable, so education, as a sector, simply does not demonstrate productivity gains, as do other sectors. The joke in silicon valley is that the car industry, moving at the pace of the addition of transistors per chip, would produce a car that costs $50 and got 1,500 miles/gallon. The retort from Detroit is that such cars would randomly crash twice a day. The reality is somewhere in the middle for education...the sector is constantly increasing the sum total of human knowledge, but that fact alone makes it tough to containerize and propagate that knowledge.

Tom

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 1:09 a.m.

Easy answer dog guy. The Falcon went the way of the Do-Do bird but I get your point. My guess is that productivity improvements through automation from design through production and intense competition for comparable products. Let's see, we are missing the former at U of M and arguably part of the latter.

trespass

Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 11:35 p.m.

Chelsea- The use of the word "costs" in the headline is ambiguous because you have the cost to students in the form of tuition and the "costs" represented by the increase in the General Fund budget. The costs in the budget increased by 4.8%, still twice the rate of inflation. The administration was able to keep tuition increases down by accepting more out of state students. It is nice to have lower tuition increases but in this case it is at the expense of opportunities for Michigan students to get a UM education. I am not going to congratulate the Regents until they control the General Fund budget.

blue85

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 6:39 p.m.

You say: "The use of the word "costs" in the headline is ambiguous because you have the cost to students in the form of tuition and the "costs" represented by the increase in the General Fund budget. " Yet there is zero ambiguity in the article: costs are attached to the student's side of the equation: " The university dropped lower in three of the four categories of the 2013 College Affordability and Transparency Lists, which is good news — lower on the list means more affordable for students. This year, the University of Michigan was ranked 600th out of 640 public four-year universities for percentage increase in net price. This is an improvement from last year's ranking of 568th. Net price reflects cost minus financial aid, Associate Director at U-M's Office of Public Affairs and Internal Communications Rick Fitzgerald said." You say: "I am not going to congratulate the Regents until they control the General Fund budget." Yet is it clear that the Regents address the issue of NET costs and NET costs are going down due, in part, to increases in financial aid. Increases in aid result from the Regents et.al. doing a better job on the revenue side of the equation...that is revenue without consideration of student tuition. In sum, your post makes little to no sense.

AMOC

Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 10:23 p.m.

"For the 3rd year in a row, U-M is among the lowest in the four-year public university transparency and affordability rankings." It's hard to tell from this article, if these low rankings are also "better for students". Somehow I don't think so, but I would be happier to be wrong.

blue85

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 6:35 p.m.

You say: "It's hard to tell from this article, if these low rankings are also "better for students". Somehow I don't think so, but I would be happier to be wrong." Yet the article clearly states: "The university dropped lower in three of the four categories of the 2013 College Affordability and Transparency Lists, which is good news — lower on the list means more affordable for students." ... so what is the source of your confusion?

AMOC

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 12:03 p.m.

Sparty, When I see a "low ranking for affordability" I normally interpret that as meaning "not affordable" or "too expensive for most people".

Sparty

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 5:05 a.m.

How can more affordable NOT be better for Students? Please elaborate.