MSU Hikes Tuition, Faculty Salaries

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The Michigan State University Board of Trustees approved the school's budget Friday morning, raising tuition for all undergrads, but not everyone is paying the same amount.

Freshman and sophomores will by 1.9 percent more than before while juniors and seniors will be paying 3.6 percent more -- a difference of about $1,400.

Board members pointed to the state legislature as the culprit for the rising rates.

"Government, without a doubt is hurting us when it comes to education," said Faylene Owen, chair of the Finance Committee. "They don't take all education seriously or they wouldn't have cut what they cut. It's outrageous."

President Lou Anna Simon said that if education funding had kept pace with the budget's overall spending, tuition would drop by 18.5 percent. And if funding had kept pace with inflation, tuition would drop by 21.5 percent.

Despite another tuition increase, Simon said she's not worried about pricing students out of an education, citing a large student population and a healthy wait list. All of them, she says are willing to pay the money for a degree from MSU.

"They're not required to be here, they're choosing to be here," she said. "You have to do these things along the way to make sure the next generation of students has as good or better experience than this generation of students."

As tuition rises, so do faculty salaries. They will rise two percent next year, something Simon says is vital to keeping MSU as competitive as possible.

"In order for us to have value, we have to have great people," she said.

The median salary for a professor at MSU was $101,564 last year, below the Big Ten median salary and ahead of only the University of Nebraska in the conference.

"Our goal is to make sure the value of a Michigan State degree appreciates more than the tuition increases," she said. "People have to believe they're getting a great value for their education, not simply a degree."

The board also approved several construction projects, aimed at further improving the university's image, including renovations to Spartan Stadium, Munn Ice Arena, and an on-campus police outpost.