News Story

CMU Tuition More Than Doubled Since 2000; Revenues Up But Enrollment Stagnant

State higher education funding is down, though

A recent Bridge Magazine article on state higher education spending focused on Central Michigan University. The Oct. 7 piece cited “lackluster funding” and declining enrollment as factors stressing institutions of higher education.

Central Michigan University has increased tuition and fees charged to resident undergraduate students by 139% over the past 20 years, after adjusting for inflation.

The average undergraduate resident tuition was $3,630 in 1999-2000, which translates into $5,413 in 2019 dollars. By 2018-19, the average resident undergraduate at CMU was paying $12,960 according to the state of Michigan, or more than double the amount paid 19 years ago.

CMU’s state funding has decreased since 1999-2000, when the university received $80.5 million. This was the actual amount, not adjusted for inflation. State higher education budgets were reduced during Michigan’s one-state recession of the 2000s, and they have never fully recovered. In 2017-18, the Legislature appropriated $73.8 million for CMU, an amount that after adjusting for inflation, was barely 60% percent of the amount it received 19 years ago.

Central Michigan University’s total revenue has risen over that period, however, even though the school is serving virtually the same number of resident undergrads. CMU’s total revenue was $317.1 million in 1999-2000, or $465.7 million in 2018 dollars. CMU’s total revenues in 2017-18 were $531.9 million, an increase that is $66.2 million above inflation since 1999-2000.

Enrollment at CMU had remained stagnant over the past 19 years. The number of resident undergraduate students was 19,438 in 1999-2000; in the 2017-18 school year, it was 19,546.