U-M expands its Go Blue Guarantee in 2023-24 budget


Another 450 in-state students will be able to attend the University of Michigan tuition-free as part of a 2023-24 budget that expands the Go Blue Guarantee and prioritizes affordability and key investments in student, faculty and staff success.

The Board of Regents approved a spending plan June 15 that increases the family income and asset thresholds to up to $75,000 each for U-M’s signature free-tuition program. 

The $2.79 billion general fund budget for the Ann Arbor campus covers the fiscal year that begins July 1. It is part of an approved, universitywide consolidated budget package that also includes spending plans for Michigan Medicine, UM-Dearborn, UM-Flint, Athletics, Michigan Housing and student fees.

“The proposed fiscal year ’24 budget advances our highest priorities, builds on our strengths and sets the stage for a bold era of change,” Laurie McCauley, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, said at the regents meeting.

“The proposed budget supports both our current position as an exemplary public university and our ambition — in the best sense of that word — to do more. It does so while maintaining the fiscal discipline that is a hallmark of responsible stewardship of our resources.”

The regents unanimously approved the budget measure, with Regent Paul Brown absent.

The budget includes a 2.9% increase in the rate for in-state undergraduate tuition and fees at the Ann Arbor campus, which is below the projected rate of inflation.

The change will be offset by a 7.8% increase in undergraduate financial aid that will cover the tuition increase for most in-state students with financial need — making this the 14th consecutive year that additional financial aid resources will cover the full tuition increase for most resident undergraduates receiving financial aid.

Graduate students and out-of-state undergraduate students will see a 4.9% increase in tuition and fees.

The in-state “sticker price” tuition rate for undergraduates, along with fees, will increase by $492, for an annual rate of $17,228. Tuition and fees will increase by $2,738 for nonresident undergraduate students, for an annual rate of $58,072. Tuition and fees are based on full-time enrollment, which is defined as 12-18 credit hours.

Regent Sarah Hubbard said keeping U-M affordable is a top priority.

“The ability to maintain very low, below-the-rate-of-inflation increases in Ann Arbor — very modest increases in Flint and Dearborn, as well — I think has been a very positive result of the oversight the board is providing to the university,” she said.

During the past decade, spending on undergraduate financial aid has increased by an average of 10% annually. As a result, 60% of in-state and 41% of out-of-state undergraduate students pay less than the published cost of attendance.

University officials said for most resident undergraduate students who receive need-based financial aid, the net cost of attending U-M is actually less than it was 10 years ago. And nearly 3,000 fewer students are taking out loans compared with a decade ago.    

The expansion on the Ann Arbor campus of the Go Blue Guarantee, a free tuition program for qualifying Michigan residents, is another piece of U-M’s continuing efforts to ensure a world-class education remains accessible regardless of a student’s financial means.

Officials said increasing current eligibility thresholds — family incomes of up to $65,000 and assets of up to $50,000 — to up to $75,000 for each part will expand participation by approximately 450 students every year.

“This program, the Go Blue Guarantee, is really life-changing for a lot of our students,” Regent Jordan Acker said. He noted that the “revolutionary” program has inspired similar initiatives at other universities.

“So, as we lead the way again by increasing (the eligibility thresholds) to $75,000, I’m just hopeful that we will continue to lead the way in making sure that middle-class and working-class Michiganders, especially, are able to attend this university and to graduate without student debt.”

Today, nearly 3,400 in-state undergraduate students, including about 1,300 students who participate in the Go Blue Guarantee, pay no tuition because of financial aid.

The budget for the upcoming fiscal year focuses on enhancing student success and well-being, with investments in mental health and wellness services, student organizations, sustainability programs, leadership and student-facing technologies.

McCauley highlighted the launch of a program to help students pursue global study and the creation of an LSA Bridge Scholars Plus program that will provide a full-year, living-learning community experience.

There will be no increase in the University Health Service, Central Student Government or Student Legal Services fees, which will remain at $209.74, $11.19 and $8.50, respectively, per semester.

Additionally, the budget reflects investments in initiatives designed to promote faculty and staff success. It has funding for several faculty recruitment and retention programs, support for staff professional development, investment in research administration, resources for improving talent acquisition and human resource functions, and a 4% merit pay program. 

“We recognize the importance of climate and culture to our workforce, and continue to work with stakeholders across campus to articulate workplace values and create a community where ethics and integrity are central and all feel valued,” McCauley said.

The FY ’24 budget also provides for:

  • Additional investment in key research areas, including electric vehicle technology, neuroscience, firearms injury prevention, biointerfaces and digital studies, as well as investment in research infrastructure.
  • A landmark investment in doctoral students that provides approximately $12.5 million to support summer funding.
  • Hiring key leadership and funding collaborative student programs related to sustainability, such as Planet Blue Ambassadors.
  • Additional investment in campus safety training, prevention and protection, including enhancements to the Division of Public Safety and Security mobile app that will improve the university’s emergency alert and reporting systems.
  • Support for U-M’s new and ongoing engagements in Detroit.
  • The expansion of a collaboration between the College of Engineering and the Institute for Social Research on rural-life research and the unique challenges facing rural areas.

McCauley highlighted cost-containment measures that will lead to roughly $31 million in ongoing savings, including efforts by units, schools and colleges to restructure staff following attritions and retirements and the movement of more recruitment activities online to save on travel expenses.

“This work substantially reduces the pressure on tuition, which would be significantly higher without this ongoing crucial scrutiny on containing costs,” McCauley said.

The budget plan estimates a 5.1% increase in state appropriations, which is approximately the mid-point of current budget proposals put forth by the governor, state Senate and state House of Representatives. The state, which operates on a different fiscal calendar, must approve its budget by the end of September.

Housing, dining rates rise to cover increased costs

Regents also approved a 5.2% increase in residence hall room and board rates for the upcoming fiscal year. The increase reflects continuing inflationary pressures that have led to higher costs for utilities, labor, food and maintenance needs.

The cost per student for a double room with a basic meal plan will total $13,856 for the fall and winter terms, an increase of $85 per month. Need-based grant aid will mitigate this increase for students with financial need.

Michigan Housing and Michigan Dining are self-funded auxiliary units of Student Life within the university.


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