Students at Western Michigan University, a taxpayer-supported academic institution in Kalamazoo MI, will have to deal with a hike in the cost of tuition this fall. At their meeting on June 29, the members of the Western Michigan University Board of Trustees agreed to raise tuition for 2017-18. As of the fall 2017 semester, just after a new university president takes office, Michigan residents enrolled full time as freshmen and sophmores will pay $11,943 in tuition and required fees: a hike of $450 over last year’s rates. This represents a 3.91 percent increase.

Full-time upper level—junior and senior—resident undergraduate students' annual cost at WMU for tuition and required fees beginning as of this fall will be $13,097. Rates for resident graduate students will increase by 7.5 percent to $596.25 per credit hour, putting those costs into alignment with Michigan's other research universities. Rates for nonresident graduate students will go up by 2.5 percent to $1,204.17 per credit hour. 

The tuition increase did remain within guidelines set by the state government. As part of the appropriations process, the state requested that tuition increases be limited to no more than 3.8 percent or $475, whichever is greater.

Some of those student fees, and taxpayer support, will go to the ongoing renovation of the mansion for the incoming president of the university. Edward Montgomery, a former Obama administration official, will begin his stint as WMU president on August 1. To greet him, the stately 1926 brick mansion on 1201 Short Road in Kalamazoo, is being renovated so as to offer additional parking space.

The garage at the mansion is getting expanded and a face-lift. The two-car garage was designed with narrow spaces and a pole in the middle that damaged vehicle doors that banged into them in the past. Workers are installing an added ceiling beam so as to replace the offending pole. In addition, a third and wider parking space is being added. In preparation for Montgomery’s arrival, painting, carpeting, and other projects are being completed. The university’s on-staff electricians, carpenters, and painters are working on the project. WMU bought the residence in 1974. The mansion has about 7,832 square foot on three floors.

A phone call to WMU spokeswoman Cheryl Roland’s voicemail was not returned.

Montgomery served as Obama’s so-called ‘Auto Czar.’ He drives a Ram 1500 pickup, while Mrs. Montgomery favors a Chevrolet Silverado. His son drives a Mazda 3, thus necessitating the third stall. Appointed in 2009, Montgomery served on Obama’s Task Force on the Auto Industry and was Director of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers. He holds a doctorate in economics from Harvard University.

According to, residences on Short Road in Kalamazoo have sold recently for as much as $1.13 million. Leaders of other public academic institutions in Michigan also have taxpayer-supported residences. They include: The University of Michigan, University of Michigan-Flint, Mott Community College (Flint), and Michigan State University.




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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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