(Photo courtesy of The M Den)
(Photo courtesy of The M Den)


Ever wonder where your tuition dollars go? There are many different places where tuition dollars are spent and allocated.

Beth Marmarelli, the Associate Director of Communications & Marketing for the University, recently filled me in.

“An important thing to note is that annual tuition dollars only cover about 79 percent of the yearly cost of a student’s education, meaning that there are certain points in the year that tuition dollars are no longer covering expenses and other funding sources fill the gap,” Marmarelli said.

She also added that, “The general fund is only part of our overall expenses, since we also receive revenues from other areas such as donors, research grants, auxiliary functions (food service), etc. that are used to pay for expenses that those funds are specifically earmarked for or associated with.”

Based off of percentages, instruction takes up almost 46 percent of the operating expenses in terms of the functional category for the general fund. If you put that into a dollar amount, it comes up to 49 million dollars.

Next are facilities operations, debt service, and utilities, at 15 percent with about 16 million dollars towards them. Administration, which consists of the Dean’s office, Library, Academic Advising, and sponsored programs come in at 12 and a half percent, or 13 million dollars. Academic Support has similar numbers as Administration with the same percentage and dollar amount, with total percent at 12.1. Academic Support includes the Chancellor’s office, Institutional Advancement, Government Relations, Provost, Business Affairs, Human Resources, Financial Services, and Campus Safety.

For two key areas that are important to students, Student Services are about 6 percent of the fund at 6 million dollars and Financial Aid at 7 percent or 8 million dollars.

Since 2002, state funding has decreased from 27 million to the current amount of 21 million dollars. Before students complain that tuition goes up, the reasons for the increase are clear. Michigan has had budget problems for some time now. With cuts coming deep into education, schools have responded accordingly with our University raising tuition by 6.73 percent. State aid has dropped by 936 dollars per student, and tuition increases averaged $641 per student.

Here are some other Michigan schools with their tuition hikes:

Western Michigan: 6.6% increase
Oakland University: 7% increase
Saginaw Valley State: 6.9% increase
Lake Superior State University: 6.94% increase
Michigan Technological University: 6.95% increase
University of Michigan-Flint: 6.8% increase

Clarification should help students understand where their money on campus goes.