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MARQUETTE - Room and board for Northern Michigan University students may be increasing for the 2009-10 school year.
Despite opposition by Gilbert Ziegler, a member of the NMU Board of Trustees, the board finance committee recommended in a 3 to 1 vote to increase fees for student housing and dining services by 2.75 percent or $204 annually at a committee meeting Thursday afternoon. The board as a whole was scheduled to vote on the increase at its formal session this morning.
"The issue today is what can we do to freeze the level we're at," Ziegler said. "I really don't think we can keep raising our costs."
Trustee Stephen Adamini said NMU is eating up most of the increased costs but parents must share the burden. Vice president for Finance and Administration Gavin Leach said despite the increase in fees, NMU will most likely keep offering the second lowest tuition and fees in Michigan.
"It's important to keep sending out that message," said Trustee Larry Inman.
Ziegler said NMU can find other means to cover its increased housing and dining services costs, and it should not raise fees.
In the end, Inman, Adamini and Trustee Brian Cloyd voted to bring the increase before the whole board, while Ziegler voted against the move.
Last May, the board approved to increase room and board fees by $416, up from $7,220 to $7,636. If the increase is approved today, NMU students will have to pay about $7,840 annually for room and board.
Leach also gave an overview of NMU's budget situation at the committee meeting, stating that state funding has not yet been determined.
"The governor is supposed to come out with an executive order next week," he said, adding that earlier this year Gov. Jennifer Granholm proposed a 3.2 percent reduction in higher eduction funding and a tuition freeze. A 3 percent appropriation reduction to NMU would mean $1.5 million. However, one-time federal stimulus dollars may help offset some of these losses.
Leach also gave an update on student enrollment for fall with 69 more undergraduates enrolled than last year as of April 15.
Leach said budget reduction targets have been established across campus for the scenario of a $4 million and as high as $6.7 million cut.
"We're tracking the budget situation daily," Leach said.