Tech OKs tuition break for military veterans

HOUGHTON – In addition to the many accolades and recognitions Michigan Technological University received in the past year, in the beginning of the month it was recognized as a military friendly school. That recognition, granted to only 20 percent of universities and colleges in the United States, honors Michigan Tech’s commitment to the recruitment and retention of students with military experience.

In a further demonstration of Tech’s support of military students, the board of control voted Thursday morning to grant in-state tuition to military veterans who have been honorably discharged from U.S. military service, regardless of where they live. This policy is an extension of an existing policy from 2008, which offers in-state tuition to family members of military serving full-time regardless of where they live.

“We have already been classified as a military friendly school and this is to continue that practice,” said Steve Hicks, board chair. “I commend the university for moving that forward.”

The board unanimously voted to accept the proposal, adding the specification that the in-state tuition applies only to members specifically of the U.S. military.

“We are listed as a military friendly campus and this only adds to it, to provide for military veterans who have been honorably discharged to be regarded as residents,” added Thomas Baldini, board member.

In addition to honoring military veterans, the board of control heard about the steady increase in quality metrics of incoming students. John Leman, vice president for enrollment, marketing and communications, shared information regarding enrollment and the ACT scores and average GPAs of incoming freshmen students. He noted that female enrollment figures are up to 26 percent and female undergraduates in the College of Engineering are at an all-time high of 906. The number of graduate students increased for the fifth straight year, marking the largest graduate student enrollment in the university’s history at 1,359.

Using measurements such as ACT scores and average GPA, Leman noted a trend of rising scores for each incoming freshmen class. This year, the average ACT score for incoming freshman was 26.7, up from 25.1 in 2004.

“It’s not just the size of the body that you bring in, it’s the substance behind that,” said Leman.

In other business, the board:

discussed a five-year capital outlay plan and the 2015 capital project request required to be submitted to the state this fall. Among the requests are advanced research laboratories (cost of $19,872,000), a Human Health Research Center (cost of $35 million) and a Net-Positive Energy Microgrid Research Building as an addition to the R.L. Smith Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics Building (cost of $29 million).

approved expanding the Keweenaw Research Center. The cost of the expansion is not to exceed $800,000 and will be used to accommodate a new $4 million U.S. Department of Defense Contract and growing numbers of industrial contracts.

heard a report from David Reed, vice president for research, on the sponsored programs, awards and contracts and research expenditures for fiscal year 2013. The total sponsored awards increased 11 percent from fiscal year 2012 with a total of $48,016,845. Total industry awards also increased by 17.8 percent for a total of $8,186,789. Research expenditures decreased by 2.7 percent because, Reed explained, research expenditures lag behind research funding as funds awarded are not always spent in the same fiscal year.

approved awarding honorary degrees to Scott K. Usitalo and Leland D. Melvin, the speakers for the December and May commencements, respectively.

recognized Alice Soldan, a senior lecturer in biological sciences, for 37 years of service to the University.