The Ferris State University Board of Trustees hosted a special virtual meeting and approved the 2022-23 preliminary general fund operating budget, tuition rates and additional items.
The trustees approved a preliminary FY23 general fund operating budget of $195.7 million, which is virtually even from the final FY22 budget of $195.6 million. At the Board of Trustees meeting in October, the administration will present a final budget to the board for approval.
Board members also approved 2022-23 academic year tuition rates for Ferris and Kendall College of Art and Design students. These include an increase of 2.6 percent, or $12 per credit hour, for lower-division courses and 3.7 percent, or $18 per credit hour, for upper-division courses. This average undergraduate increase of 3.2 percent is below the predicted, but not yet finalized state tuition restraint, in the 4.4 to five percent range.
For more than a decade, increased financial aid and donor scholarship support have contributed to lowering Ferris’ attendance net price, the average amount students and families pay for the academic year after receiving scholarships and grants. Currently, Ferris has the fourth-lowest net price of attendance among the state’s 15 public universities.
In this budget Ferris increases its student financial aid spending to $27 million while reducing operating expenses by 0.3 percent in the preliminary FY23 budget. Ferris students will benefit from 49 new endowed scholarships, providing an additional $400,359 in student support for the upcoming fiscal year. Pell Grant recipients will receive a 6.1-percent increase in financial assistance up to a maximum award of $6,987.
The university’s focus on keeping its net price low has contributed to a 12-percent reduction in student loan debt over more than 10 years. From 2019-20 to 2020-21, the average Ferris loan debt dropped by 10 percent and, since 2017-18, has decreased by more than $5,000.
In March 2022, College Consensus ranked Ferris third nationally in a list of the “100 Best Value Colleges and Universities.” The ranking recognized Ferris’ commitment to maximizing educational value at an affordable cost. Besides affordable tuition rates, Ferris is one of Michigan’s most affordable state universities for room and board.
In other June 21 action, the trustees approved:
- accepting the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services CHARM (Collaboration to Harmonize Antimicrobial Registry Measures) grant award in the amount of $611,929 over fiscal years 22-24;
- accepting the MDHHS SARS-CoV-2 Epidemiology Wastewater Evaluation grant award in the amount of $1.8 million. The program provides financial assistance to support costs associated with COVID-19 wastewater surveillance and local public health response;
- funding for a new Jim Crow Museum traveling exhibit. This project fits the university’s goals of developing the Jim Crow Museum and Ferris as a world-class teaching tool accessible to the public in as many ways as possible. Half of the $1 million in funding will come from donor contributions while the other half will come from university development funds; and
- engaging the services of Pure Real Estate Brokerage in selling the property at 2 Fulton Street West in Grand Rapids, the former home of the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts.
The current trustees are chair Amna P. Seibold, of East Grand Rapids; vice-chair Ana L. Ramirez-Saenz, of Caledonia; secretary Rupesh K. Srivastava, of Wixom; member-at-large LaShanda R. Thomas, of Grosse Pointe; George K. Heartwell, of Newaygo; Kurt A. Hofman, of Grand Rapids; and Ronald E. Snead, of Stanwood.
The next regular meeting of the Board of Trustees is Friday, Oct. 7, 2022, in Grand Rapids. Committee meetings begin at 10 a.m. followed by the full board meeting at 11 a.m.