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Wayne State Adopts Tuition Model that Promotes Graduation Rates

December 5, 2022

Crain’s Detroit Business
Dec. 2, 2022
Sherri Welch

The Wayne State University Board of Governors on Friday adopted a block tuition model for undergraduate students.

With the change, which takes effect in fall 2023, undergraduate students will pay the same amount for enrolling in 12-18 credits per semester.

The shift incentivizes students to take full course loads and enables them to graduate sooner, Wayne State said in a release, noting it is the 11th public university in the state to adopt the model.

“To fulfill Wayne State’s mission as a university of access and an engine of social mobility, we constantly strive to align our students’ goals with academic pathways to success,” Mark Kornbluh, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, said in a news release. “Research shows that students who take at least 15 credit hours per semester experience higher academic performance, are more likely to continue in college, and graduate more often and earlier than students who take fewer credit hours per semester.”

Decreasing the time it takes to earn a degree will save students and families money on tuition, room and board, transportation and other expenses, reducing student loan debt while enabling students to enter the workforce sooner, the Detroit-based university said.

While a few students in specialized programs and students who can’t enroll full time will be charged per credit hour, the new pricing model will make earning a degree at WSU dramatically more affordable for most students, the university claims.

Lower-division students can potentially save $862 a year, and upper-division students could save as much as $1,023 a year with block tuition pricing, compared to paying for 30 credits by the credit hour, WSU said.

Wayne State said its tuition and fees would be fifth-least expensive among Michigan’s 15 public universities with the new rates.

The block pricing structure is meant to boost four- and six-year graduation rates, building on the university’s track record of more than doubling graduation rates over the last decade, the university said, noting they now exceed 60 percent.

To help students take advantage of the new tuition structure, Wayne State said it will provide access to advising and expanded academic support services, including tutoring and peer mentoring, in addition to block scheduling based on academic interest or theme to make registering for classes easier.

“Given the larger course loads, we will be monitoring student performance and scaling support services to ensure students are not falling behind academically,” Ahmad Ezzeddine, vice president for academic student affairs and global engagement, said in the release. “Our advisors will help students navigate their schedules and direct them to the appropriate support services to manage their coursework.”