President Pleger testifies

President Pleger testifies about tuition waiver before House committee

Lake Superior State University President Tom Pleger joined two other chief executives from Michigan universities in testifying before the state House Appropriations Higher Education Subcommittee on March 2. Pleger’s comments stressed the new facilities improvements at LSSU (Considine Hall, Center For Freshwater Research and Education planning), infrastructure needs, and how LSSU has been coping with the Michigan Indian Tuition Waiver as mandated by the state in 1976. By law, LSSU waives the tuition of any enrolled Native American student, but has not been fully compensated by Michigan for doing so since 1997, an encumbrance that runs almost $1 million a year. “For us it is a big deal because we have the largest percentage of our student body,” he said. “Without that assistance, those students would not be able to attend. We do not receive full funding back from the state for that program. That is something that we need to fix in order for us to continue to serve that population.” Pleger also discussed the importance of the state’s Tuition Incentive Program (TIP) and its importance on making college affordable for first generation students. Additionally, he discussed the tremendous economic impact LSSU has on the Eastern UP in terms talent attraction, talent generation, economic impact, and community development.