Tuition and fees collected at Michigan's 15 public universities rose an average of 37 percent over a four-year period ending with the 2005-06 fiscal year, according to a state audit released Wednesday.
The higher prices at Michigan universities at least in part are because of declining state taxpayer aid. State government appropriations going to universities declined by about 12 percent in the same period, and schools made up the difference with higher prices charged to students.
Some of the increased costs of attending a university came in new fees, which aren't as immediately apparent to students applying to attend a particular school. Some universities held tuition increases fairly well in check, but raised fees charged for items such as technology, class registration and student activity centers.
The average cost of tuition and fees for an undergraduate who was a state resident in 2004-05 ranged from $4,952 at Saginaw Valley State University to $9,402 at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.
The price of attending Michigan's 15 public universities has drawn scrutiny from both inside and outside the state in recent years. Policymakers want to keep tuition and fees affordable to give more people a chance to go to college, which they say would boost the economy by providing a better-educated work force.