NMU Board of Trustees meet: Room/Board Increase Less Than 1 Percent

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The Northern Michigan University Board of Trustees approved 2019-20 room and board rates that are less than 1 percent higher than last year, despite inflationary cost adjustments and maintenance needs.

“The fact we’re able to keep room and board increases at less than 1 percent is a testament to the great staff managing housing and dining, but also to the choices and options Northern makes available to students,” said Trustee James Haveman. “I just want to thank the people who are able to hold costs down for the students. That’s really our goal and I think we accomplished it this time.”

The combined cost of a double-occupancy room in a traditional residence hall and the new dining plan base requirement—the “silver constant” meal pass—will be $5,247 per semester, an increase of $44 or 0.85 percent. A double-occupancy room in The Woods complex with the same dining plan will cost $5,650 per semester, an increase of $55, or 0.98 percent. The full rate schedule will be available here.

“Dining Services has created the new ‘silver constant’ meal pass, giving students the option of saving $105 per semester,” said Gavin Leach, vice president for finance and administration. “They can also upgrade to either the ‘gold constant’ or ‘platinum constant’ meal passes, which will also give them a great value for their money.”

NMU Board Chair Robert Mahaney added, “Vice President Leach and his team do a great job, not only with room and board, but with the university’s overall financial condition. Northern is able to control costs better than any university in the state and, if we did a little research, that might even extend to the nation. The fact we can keep room and board rates below 1 percent is remarkable.”

Mahaney also commended the amount of progress that has been made on the university’s strategic plan.

“I’ll bet 75 percent of the items within the plan have a green box next to them, indicating they’ve been completed,” he said. “The strategic plan allowed us to do the SRA [Strategic Resource Allocation] project. The transformational initiatives identified through that are not going to be easy and will require a lot of work, but we’re leading change. It’s an exciting time for Northern. The university is in a position to reach further and higher and achieve its full potential.”

In other action at today’s meeting, the board:

-Agreed that the Don H. Bottom University Center be renamed the Northern Center.

-Approved the following capital projects with a total cost exceeding $250,000: medicinal plant chemistry laboratory renovation, $2.4 million; and Northern Center parking lot renovation, $600,000.

-Agreed that Alumni Relations’ operations and reporting structure be moved from the Extended Learning and Community Engagement Division to the NMU Foundation. According to the NMU Foundation, “this realignment is part of a larger restructuring effort in preparation for the upcoming fundraising campaign. The restructuring will support a holistic team-driven approach to advancement designed to build and maintain enduring, multifaceted and mutually beneficial relationships while achieving the most effective and efficient use of institutional and philanthropic resources.”

-Agreed to increase the athletic training master’s program lab course fee from $25 to $50 to cover the cost of expendable supplies in several courses, but not increase the $25 per lab course fee for five other athletic training master’s courses.

-Agreed to a contract extension for Kristi Robinia, associate dean-nursing education/director-School of Nursing, effective through June 30, 2024.

-Authorized a five-year extension for the university’s external auditing firm, Rehmann Robson LLC.

-Approved the Michigan Council on Arts and Cultural Affairs grant application, on behalf of the DeVos Art Museum.

-Approved the purchase of tower property in Stephenson for expansion of the Educational Access Network, which brings high-speed educational broadband to underserved communities throughout the Upper Peninsula.

-Learned that Chair Robert Mahaney and Trustee Steven Young will serve as ex-officio members on the NMU Foundation Board.

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