Tech board approves budget, tuition rates

HOUGHTON – The Michigan Technological University Board of Control approved a balanced budget for fiscal year 2013-14 at its regular meeting Friday, including its lowest tuition increase in nine years.

Of the $172.5 million in projected revenue, $43.8 million comes from state appropriations and $114.7 million comes from tuition and fees. The budget as a whole is $7 million more than last year, including $1 million in additional financial aid, $500,000 for maintenance and a 3 percent merit adjustment for employees, effective in January.

The budget took into account the following parameters: a projection of 70 more undergraduate students (bringing the total to about 5,300), a steady graduate enrollment (approximately 1,300), a 2.9 percent increase in undergraduate plateau tuition, a 6 percent increase in graduate tuition, a 2.8 percent increase in state appropriations, the 3 percent employee merit adjustment, a 3 percent increase in graduate student minimum stipends, a 1 percent increase in the fringe rate and an additional $600,000 in research returns.

“These budget parameters result in a general fund budget that is balanced and a current fund estimate that is to the plus side,” Tech Chief Financial Officier Dan Greenlee told the board in his presentation Friday.

Board of Control Finance Committee Chair Tom Baldini voiced his support for the budget, but he noted the state does not have a budget yet.

“We looked at the different proposals being discussed in Lansing, and the differential between plan A, B, C and D is very insignificant,” he said, “and it was the recommendation of the administration that advising the students as early as possible as to what their tuition will be for the fall is very important for them and would help with planning.”

Tech will move to a plateau tuition model, which will charge the same $6,735 flat rate for 12 to 18 credit hours during the fall and spring semester for Michigan residents, an increase of 2.9 percent (under the lowest possible cap, 3 percent, in state budget proposals). It’s the lowest percent increase since 2.3 percent in 2004-05.

State appropriations, by comparison, were $47.6 million in 2004 and dropped as low as $40.7 million just last year. They were as high as $55.2 million as recently as 2002. This year’s projection is for $169,000 more from the state, up to $42.4 million, though the governor, Senate and House still need to agree on a budget.

“We took a lot of budget cuts from the state (in the past), and it was good to be able to come up with a budget – because of some of the cost-cutting we’ve done in the past few years – that really gives the students a break,” Tech president Glenn Mroz said in a Daily Mining Gazette interview after the meeting.

Non-resident undergraduates will pay $14,175 for 12 to 18 credits, a 5 percent increase. Resident undergrads who take less than 12 credits or more than 18 will pay $510 per credit hour; non-residents will pay $1,050.

During the 2014 summer sessions, all undergraduates will pay tuition based on credit hours, $458 per credit hour for Michigan residents and $945 for non-residents.

Graduate tuition will be $789 per credit hour for both residents and non-residents, except for applied science education and on-campus Peace Corps Master’s International graduate students, who will pay $514 per credit hour.

All international students will pay a $150 surcharge in the fall and spring semesters. See related article for more information, and additional agenda items tackled by the Board of Control Friday.