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Wayne State To Cut Tuition, Pursue Student Success

At new program at Wayne State University in Michigan will give students a financial break. The "Spring/Summer Tuition Break" initiative offers students a 30 percent tuition discount in those semesters if they tackle a full load in the previous fall and winter semesters and carry a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher. The school has also received a $600,000 grant to implement a new student success initiative.

According to the Detroit university, the goal of the tuition reduction program is to help students graduate sooner and with less debt. The reduction is in effect for the 2015-2016 academic year.

"The Spring/Summer Tuition Break is intended to serve as motivation for the students out there who might be deciding between nine or 12 credits this fall," said Provost Margaret Winters. "We are hopeful that this will create some urgency for them to add that extra class now and progress toward their degrees in the most cost-effective way possible."

At the same time the school is raising its tuition by $10.45 per credit hour, which adds up to $313.50 a year for a resident undergraduate taking 30 credit hours. Simultaneously, Wayne State will be raising financial aid by 1.5 percent. Eighty percent of the student body takes some form of financial assistance, which, institutionally, totals $63.5 million.

The grant, which came from the Kresge Foundation, will support an undergraduate student success initiative, which is working on increasing student retention and graduate rates among minority and low-income students. Wayne State will use the funding for planning and capacity building, specifically gaining community buy-in, performing data acquisition and analysis, bolstering transfer student success and creating a "community engagement registry" to get students involved in community activities and the community better integrated with the university.

"Through integration into the community and university research programs, students will have a more meaningful academic experience they can apply to their daily lives," Winters said. "Adding such relevancy to a demanding academic agenda can motivate and inspire students to stay in college and graduate. Ongoing encouragement and support from the university will give all students both the resources and enriching academic environment they need to thrive."

Wayne State also received a grant from the foundation in 2013. That one was intended to support a three-year program to place mid-career community development professionals into fellowships at public and non-profit organizations focused on revitalizing Detroit.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@dischaffhauser.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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