(Photo courtesy of The M Den)

By AARON YNCLAN, Staff Writer

When questioned, most students will agree that their least favorite aspect of attending college is the cost of admission. Though some graduates are fortunate or studious enough to garner scholarships, a significant majority is still burdened with paying for tuition either out of pocket or through student loans. But why exactly is tuition so pricey, and what goes into the process of implementing such a program?

Katherine Allen, Director of Financial Aid and Scholarships at UM-Dearborn, was kind enough to offer her thoughts on the status of tuition fees and how the current price is still beneficial for students. “I think cost is always a concern for all students and I think that the education that students get here at UM-Dearborn is quite superior.”

The first and most important point to understand is that there is no set price for tuition across a state. Because all universities are unique with varying areas of focus, requirements, and facilities maintenance, costs continually fluctuate depending on which college you investigate.

“I think that when you’re talking about the class size that we have, the student to professor ratio, and some of the items that we offer here are just amazing,” Allen said, “and when you’re comparing that to price and other things that you might not get at other schools that might be larger, that might have higher costs…when I’m looking at the quality of students that we have here, between GPA and ACT scores and what our tuition and fees are we’re definitely very competitive.”

These can also influenced by any number of reasons, ranging from cuts to state funding towards education to necessary maintenance/restructuring to campus facilities.

For example, University of Michigan-Dearborn experienced a 3.5 percent tuition increase for in-state undergraduates in the 2013-14 academic year, which equates to approximately $186 in increased fees. However, a 1.2 percent increase in state funding was made for the 2013-14 year, which allowed the university to limit and reduce the tuition hike.

Since rates alternate from school to school, the actual amount a student puts into their education ultimately depends on the factors themselves, from credit hours and course levels to residential status and financial aid assistance. UM-Dearborn estimates that 70 percent of students receive financial aid, but this all-encompassing term can refer to scholarships, student loans, or work study programs, all of which alleviate some financial burden from graduate’s shoulders. In terms of courses, fees depend primarily on the choice of program and credit hour assessment. For example, a pre-credit course assessment of 1-8 in the Graduate and Professional Assessments will cost a resident student $595, while the same credit hour in the Web-based Engineering & Computer Science Assessments will cost $710. In addition, 300-499 level courses in Engineering are assessed an additional $57 per credit hour to accommodate the various course necessities while the same level in Business will require an extra $151 per credit hour.

While this information may seem daunting to understand, UM-Dearborn has continued its role as a premier college that stills remains affordable for promising students. Based on a tuition and fees report from the 2012-2013 academic year, UM-Dearborn maintained a prominent spot thanks to both outstanding results from combined G.P.A. and ACT scores and affordable rates when placed alongside esteemed institutes like Grand Valley State and Western Michigan. And though overall tuition has experienced a hike over the past few years, UM-Dearborn has continued to seek out alternative methods that allow the university to keep providing students a superior education at an affordable rate.

“And I think there are so many things that we have that are above and beyond what other institutions [have and] don’t have,” Allen said.

To learn more about the inner workings of tuition prices at UM-Dearborn, simply visit the Office of Registration and Records page at umd.umich.edu.