um_dearborn_logoBy SASCHA RAIYN, News Editor

The University of Michigan Board of Regents voted Thursday to raise 2015-2016 tuition costs across the university system.

Tuition at UM-Dearborn and on the Flint campus will increase 3.2 percent, while the Ann Arbor campus will experience an increase of 2.7 percent.

The board passed the increase 6-1 with regent Andrea Fischer Newman casting the only vote against. Newman said college is already hard to access for many middle class families without some form of financial assistance.

“We need to lead on this,” Newman told the Detroit News. “We need to fix this problem; otherwise, we are going to price the middle class out of education, or burden them with so much debt they’ll never get out.”

Regents who voted for the increase argued that collecting more tuition from families who could pay the higher price would provide the funds to aid students in the most need.

“For me, making college affordable is about making college affordable for the students who need the most help making it affordable,” said Regent Mark Bernstein. “Lower income, middle class students desperately need this help. And let me be blunt: Wealthier families don’t. The vast majority of money raised by this tuition increase will go to increase need-based financial aid — exactly where it should go.”

Eighty percent of UM-Dearborn students receive some form of financial aid. Provost Martha Pollack said financial aid increases would not be possible without the rate hike.

UM-Dearborn’s 2016 Operating Budget includes a 5.3 percent increase in funds for financial aid, fiscal improvements and other projects. Non-resident graduate and undergraduate fees will also go up 1.6 percent for the coming year.

Universities across the state will raise costs for the coming academic year. Last month the State of Michigan issued a 3.2 percent cap on tuition increases. Eastern Michigan University announced an increase of 7.8 percent. They will forfeit $1 million in state funding for surpassing the cap. UM-Dearborn will receive more than $300 thousand dollars for meeting the state’s ‘tuition restraints.’

For most undergraduates taking 15 credits, tuition will be $5781 per semester, up $181 from last year. Tuition fees vary by program.

UM-Dearborn Chancellor Daniel Little said the university is committed to being accessible to students who might find it difficult to pay for school. He said the administration is also continually working to reduce costs so funds are available for “our most pressing priorities.”

The university has created a website to answer questions about tuition rates and increases for UM-Dearborn. Visit http://umdearborn.edu/rr_understanding_tuition/ for more information.

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