MARQUETTE - Students attending Northern Michigan University see an increase in their housing and dining rates next school year, following the university's Board of Trustees approving a 3.5 percent rate increase at its meeting Friday.
The annual cost of a standard double-occupancy room and the constant meal pass will increase to $8,488 from $8,200.
According to a press release issued by the university, NMU ranks 11th among the state's public universities for its combined housing and dining rate, excluding fees that vary among institutions.
Senior Associate Vice President for Administration Art Gischia and Director of Housing and Residence Life Carl Holm said the costs can largely be attributed to renovation projects and increases in food costs.
"A major reason for the change for housing and residence was creating funds to support a plan to renovate a number of our facilities," Holm said after the board meeting. "Our residence halls are 40 years old. We've been able to renovate several of them but we've got a ways to go with the others."
Holm said most of the renovation work would likely take place during summer months, when the buildings aren't fully occupied.
Gischia said the increase will also help fund renovations in the university's food service department.
Many of the planned renovations would take place within the Marketplace, Gischia said. As the biggest single food service facility on campus, Gischia said the Marketplace serves 85 percent of the university's meals during the academic year.
Despite the need for continual updates to food service equipment, Gischia said the biggest factor in the increase was the cost of food.
"The main drive is an increase in food costs," he said. "It's predicted to increase 4 (percent) to 6 percent this year."
The board also authorized the university to continue the 2013-14 year at a budget level no greater than the current year - with the exception of increases required by negotiated union contracts - until the state's appropriation is determined and a new general fund budget is approved.
In other action, board Chairwoman L. Garnet Lewis said the board will soon begin the process of searching for a permanent university president.
"After this meeting, we will contact our professional organization, the Association of Governing Boards, and ask a representative to do a session with the board in the next few weeks on how to run an effective, professional search for a new president," Lewis said. "Details regarding the search process will be forthcoming in the next few months."
Current Interim President David Haynes is roughly one year into his three-year contract, which was approved by the board in May 2012.
Haynes' contract will expire June 30, 2015, and includes two years as interim president, with the third year spent in consultation with the new university president as well as on sabbatical to prepare to re-enter the classroom.
Prior to his appointment as interim president, Haynes was a political science professor at NMU.
Jackie Stark can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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