- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 15, 2016

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Students at Michigan State University face another tuition hike after its governing board approved next year’s budget.

After Wednesday’s vote, tuition will climb 3.7 percent for freshmen and sophomores, 3.9 percent for juniors and seniors and 4.2 percent for out-of-state undergrads. University President Lou Anna K. Simon said the average undergraduate student will pay $250 more per semester.

Under budget legislation awaiting Gov. Rick Snyder’s signature, universities will not qualify for all of their state funding next year unless they keep tuition and fee hikes to no more than 4.2 percent. Michigan State University’s increase falls below that threshold.

Simon cited years of slumping state aid for Michigan’s universities. Michigan slashed higher education funding in 2011, and this year the Legislature approved a 2.9 percent funding increase for the state’s universities. But that bump isn’t enough to restore the pre-2011 funding levels for the state’s 15 universities. The $40 million increase awaiting Snyder’s signature is less than the $60 million, or 4.4 percent funding increase, Snyder had called for.

“That’s where we are. It’s not where we’d like to be,” Simon said after presenting the university’s budget report to the board of trustees.

“I also think if I were a 12-year-old, I would be speaking to my legislator,” Simon told reporters after the board approved the tuition hike.

More than a third of the 15 state universities - including Michigan State and the University of Michigan - will receive less in the next budget than in 2010-11. Snyder took office in 2011 and cut state aid by 15 percent following years of reductions during Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s tenure.

Tuition at Michigan State University has increased almost every year since 1979. Simon said university administrators tried to minimize rising tuition by increasing financial aid.

Almost half of Michigan’s public universities will raise tuition next year, according to Daniel Hurley, CEO of the Michigan Association of State Universities. The rest will approve budgets in the following few weeks, Hurley said.

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