In the Spring of 2018 MSU Board of Trustees approved a plan to change the way undergraduate students are charged tuition.
Michigan State is currently using a per-credit tuition structure. This means that all undergraduate students are charged for the courses they are enrolled in on a per-credit basis. Which means you pay for what you take. If you take 12 you pay for 12, if you take 15 you pay for 15, if you take 17 then you pay for 17.
The biggest benefit of the per-credit tuition structure is that students who desire to decrease their tuition bills, or progress through their programs slower can do so by enrolling in 12/13/14 credits. This allows students (like me) to take fewer credits at one time while having a smaller tuition bill to bear.
Both my third and fourth semester at Michigan State I only enrolled in 12 credits. I came in with 20 transfer credits which put me on track to graduate in December 2020 instead of May 2021. Taking 12 credits (4 classes) allowed me to remain a full-time student while giving me more time to work an undergraduate research job, become a writer for the Odyssey, become more involved in my sorority, Zeta Tau Alpha, and the organization Empowering Women in Law and of course how could my parents forget, a cheaper tuition bill.
In addition, taking 12 credits in the fall meant I had more time to focus just on those four classes and I was able to 4.0 my entire semester and make the Dean's list. Sounds like a lot of wins to me. Right.
Well, Michigan State has decided to suddenly switch to block tuition in the Fall of 2019. Under block tuition students are charged a fixed price for taking anywhere between 12 and 18 credits. Every student pays the tuition bill for 15 credits regardless of the fact that they are enrolled in 12-14 credits. The only students that benefit here are the ones that enroll in 16-18 and let's be honest, a very small percentage of MSU's students take this many credits at one time and even then they're only saving on a couple of credit hours.
Under block tuition students taking less than 12 credits will be charged on a per-credit basis and students taking 19 or more credits will be charged the block rate plus a per-credit cost for each credit over 18.
The University believes that the block tuition approach aligns with their "Go Green, Go 15" saying and will in return increase efforts to help students graduate in four years. After Michigan State decision to block tuition the University of Nebraska remains the only Big Ten Institution on a per-credit tuition system.
Although I see the logic and benefit among pushing and incentivizing students to take 15 credits a semester for 8 semesters consecutively to complete a 120 credit degree in 4 years, I don't agree with the way the University is implementing the policy. Michigan State has FAILED to acknowledge how this program will affect their current students. I understand implementing it for those new undergraduate students starting their educational career with MSU in the fall of 2019, but I don't understand not grandfathering in current students.
Every single student that is currently studying at Michigan State is at a different spot in their program than the student sitting next to them. Maybe one individual took 18 credits a semester for the past 2 years so that for their last 4 semesters they could take only 12 credits. Well maybe the individual sitting to the right of them came in with transfer credits (like me) and seriously only needs 12 credits a semester to graduate on time. And maybe the individual sitting to the left of them took 12 credits both semesters their first year to adjust to college and now needs to cram their fall and spring semester will credit to catch up.
Michigan State failed to consider and appreciate their current students and their pathways ON PURPOSE because they knew that they could make a ton of money off of their students, and now I do not have the option to slow down and enjoy 2 more years as a student at Michigan State and finish on time because under block tuition I will be overpaying for 4 consecutive semesters leaving me no choice but to play the game back and graduate in 3 semesters. (Block tuition punishes current students that are ahead).
Michigan State your students CHOSE you, they had a plan- and they work jobs and internships for senators, doctors, and hospitals, companies like Google and Apple, they are in greek life, they are involved in clubs and organizations, professional and IM sports teams, etc.
They are Spartans- and you are breaking their will. Step it up.