Crain's Detroit Business: Kiantee Rupert-Jones on flexible class offerings at graduate level

In the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, Michigan's public higher education institutions have found themselves in a landscape rife with challenges, some long-anticipated, others entirely now. Enrollment in Michigan's public institutions overall took a downward turn during the pandemic, dropping 6.24% between fall 2019, when 280,490 students enrolled, and fall 2021 when 262,985 students enrolled. The landscape of higher education has changed, including class modality. Despite a push for in-person classes, assistant dean Kiantee Rupert-Jones said remote and hybrid classes will remain at the university's Mike Ilitch School of Business due to student demand. "Our students are usually working full time or have family obligations. So they're looking for flexibility and online and hybrid classes," she said. "And so at the graduate level, that's what we're offering, because we'll see an even greater decline in our enrollment if we don't offer that type of flexibility." Wayne State University bumped tuition for first-year undergraduates by 3.83%  for the 2021-22 school year after freezing tuition for 2020-21. Annual tuition for lower-division resident undergraduates at WSU for 2021-22 was $14,043. "It was a priority for us to keep any increase to the lowest level possible while not jeopardizing academic and student resources and investment," said Mark Kornbluh, Wayne State's provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. "Also, there was a significant increase in financial aid over this period." Between 2020 through 2022, WSU increased its commitment to financial aid by $16.6 million dollars, an increase of 21%.

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