In an effort to position Western Michigan University as the best place in the state to receive a good-quality, affordable education, the university's board of trustees is unveiling a cost-saving program that will begin with this year's freshmen.
The program, called The Western Edge, has several components:
• Room-and-board rates will be frozen for new students for up to four years.
• Freshmen who complete 30 credit hours by next fall and maintain at least a 3.0 grade-point average will be eligible for financial incentives they will be able to use in a variety of ways, such as to buy textbooks, for their sophomore year. The amounts of the incentives have yet to be determined.
• Entering students will be asked to submit four- or five-year plans for their studies, and ``part of our commitment under the Edge is that we will make sure those courses are available when the students need them'' so they can complete their degrees in a timely manner, WMU President John Dunn said Monday. ``If students make their commitment, we offer our commitment.''
• The Edge will include ``enhanced advising,'' Dunn said, to ensure students stay on track toward degree completion.
Dunn expected the board to approve The Western Edge today during a special meeting at 10 a.m.
The board also was expected to approve a tuition increase of 6.4 percent.
Meanwhile, tuition increases across the state were much higher.
The new edge programs also seem to create additional incentives for retention.