Local Higher Education Institutions Work to Ease Financial Burden


We all know that higher education is an investment in ourselves that will pay off in many ways. To make the investment more accessible, Western Michigan University and Kalamazoo Valley Community College are working to ease the financial burden of higher education by developing new programs and restructuring priorities. Kalamazoo Valley Community College (KVCC) has developed a program to not only help relieve the financial burden of debt, but also to incentivize the completion of higher education programs. “If existing institutional debt has held you back from achieving your academic goals, we want to work with you,” said Director of Retention and Completion, Evan Pauken. “Debt shouldn’t stop anyone from earning a degree or certificate.” Nearly 700 students have been identified as eligible for the program. In addition, KVCC is a part of the Future for Frontliners program that offers free tuition for essential workers, with applications open until December 31. With the winter term starting on January 11, there’s no better time to get learning back on track.

The Western Michigan University (WMU) Board of Trustees, in agreement with university administrators, decided to freeze tuition and room and board for the upcoming academic year. Over the past few years, tuition increased at an average rate of about 3.5 percent each year. Because of the pandemic, the university is estimated to lose more than $45 million and is projected to lose another $45 to $85 million next year. While the economic impact on WMU has been challenging, leaders agreed to prioritize the safety and well-being of their students. To save money during this period and make up for the projected loss, university leadership took a salary reduction, froze hiring, and halted any capital projects not already underway. The good news is that enrollment has remained strong as students yearn for the campus experience that WMU offers. Learn more about this decision and the changes to come on campus. And if you find yourself or someone you know thinking about preparing for a future with a degree in hand, take a virtual campus tour and get connected with admissions as the Spring 2021 semester could be on your horizon.

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