UPDATED Nov. 22, 2019
The University of Michigan has long welcomed students, faculty, staff and visiting scholars from other countries to study, teach and work on our campus. International students and faculty are highly valued members of our community of scholars. They contribute unique perspectives, enrich the culture of the community and broaden the global focus of the institution.
Particularly for students, the university places a high priority on providing supportive services and infrastructure that promote a sense of welcome and integration into the campus community and that promote academic success.
The university implemented a student service fee of $500 per semester for enrolled international students studying in Ann Arbor with F or J visa status in the fall of 2019. This fee will help to address increased costs and the expansion of services during a time of declining state appropriations support and pressures on the university’s finances.
What is the international student fee and to whom does it apply?
This is a fee assessed to enrolled international students studying in F and J visa status, along with other tuition and mandatory student fees each term of enrollment.
How much is the fee and how is it charged?
The fee is $500 per term. It is assessed with other tuition and mandatory fees in each term the student is enrolled.
What is the purpose of the fee and how will it be used?
The University of Michigan Board of Regents adopted the international fee on June 20, 2019, to address increased costs and expansion of services during a time of declining state support and pressures on the university’s finances.
As a public university, U-M faces many constraints on revenue while remaining committed to academic excellence and providing a world-class education for all students. The university has become increasingly reliant on tuition and fees, research grants, fundraising and other sources of revenue to offset a declining share of revenue from state appropriations. For more information, please see Chapter 10 of the Michigan Almanac.
The university has tuition and fees that vary by school or college, residency and student’s academic level to provide resources to meet overall costs. As is true of the university’s implementation of many other student fees, the fee revenue is combined with other resources to address growing costs and the expansion of services or to fill gaps left by the loss of state appropriations. Tuition and fees make up 73.4 percent of the university’s general fund, which provides for the bulk of the academic enterprise. The general fund is allocated by the provost through the university budget process, which assures an alignment of resources with the academic mission.
A portion of this combined funding will be allocated to multiple units across campus to support the comprehensive, distributed suite of services geared toward the success of international students. This includes both sustaining the vital services currently available as well as expanding services across the campus. Several examples of new international student programming include:
- The expansion of career advising services both centrally in the International Center and in the schools and colleges.
- Expanded International Center programming.
- New predeparture orientations.
- A new International Center Grant Fund to support student voices, interests and needs.
What are some other ways the university provides support to international students?
The university provides a comprehensive, distributed suite of services geared toward the success of international students. Some of these services are offered centrally by the International Center. Many others are offered by the university’s 19 schools and colleges or otherwise managed centrally.
For example, in addition to check-in and orientation services offered by the International Center, many schools and colleges also organize orientations for international students that are specific to their academic programs. A number of academic programs are sequential degree or exchange programs developed through institutional agreements with international colleges and universities. Additionally, the English Language Institute provides language, academic and intercultural instruction to many international students.
As students pursue their studies, the International Center offers additional immigration advising and programming. International students also take advantage of an array of school or college peer adviser programs, student organizations, cultural exchange activities and workshops with topics varying from tax preparation to intercultural communication. Many activities are organized as a collaboration between university staff and international students themselves.
The schools and colleges and the International Center collaborate to promote career opportunities for international students in several different ways. As academic units develop opportunities for students to gain practical experience as a part of their academic programs, the International Center advises on relevant immigration regulations governing internships and other practical training opportunities. Schools and colleges and the International Center also host panels of international alumni and offer workshops about navigating the U.S. job market.
Why did the university introduce the fee at this time?
The timing of the announcement for tuition and fees is driven by the university’s budget process.
Budget planning can be fluid in the months leading up to the June budget vote as the university receives new and updated information about costs and revenues, such as projected enrollment and state appropriations. To produce a final balanced budget, tuition and fees are the last budget components that are finalized. The budget is not determined until it is reviewed and approved by the Board of Regents.
Click here for more information about tuition and fees as a part of the budget.
All official tuition and required fee rates are typically announced after they are approved by regents at the annual budget meeting in June. Proposed rates are not released publicly before the Board of Regents’ meeting.
Waiting another year to implement the international fee would have created a funding gap for the 2019-20 fiscal year. This gap may have necessitated decisions about services and initiatives that could have negative impacts on students and their success.
Why are international students, in particular, being assessed this fee?
While this fee is being assessed only of international students, this group is not unique in being asked to pay differential rates of tuition and fees. Students across the university pay varying tuition and fees depending on their residency status, academic level, programs in which they are enrolled and the courses they take. These tuition and fees are determined by a combination of factors, including the cost of delivering instruction, market factors and subsidization provided by state appropriations and philanthropic giving. A list of varying tuition rates and fees, organized by program, level and residency, can be found here.
Despite the declining share of revenue from state appropriations, the university continues to receive state funding ($325.5 million this fiscal year), as well as other support from the state such as funding for capital projects. As a public institution, the university benefits from state support and the university remains committed to affordability for in-state residents. This is the principle that undergirds the difference between resident and nonresident tuition.
In addition to these factors, the university also considers demand from students, market pressure and the tuition and fees of comparable universities in setting the tuition and fees for all students. These financial realities, increasing costs of services and our strong commitment to support international students led to the 2019 enactment of the international fee to ensure the university maintains a balanced budget while enhancing and sustaining current services and support for international students.
The fee puts U-M in alignment with a number of institutions that have international fees, tuition differentials for international students, or both.
They include the University of Illinois ($874-$2,374 annual tuition differential), University of Maryland ($125 per term fee), Ohio State University ($2,928 annual tuition differential), University of Virginia ($100 per term fee), Purdue University ($1,000 per term tuition differential and $145 per term fee), University of Wisconsin ($1,000 annual tuition differential and $200 fee), Michigan State University ($1,500 annual fee) and University of Chicago ($450 one-time fee).
Who is being consulted about how the international fee will be implemented?
The Provost’s Office has been consulting with a number of units as the university allocates revenue from the fee. The aim is to ensure U-M continues to deliver high-quality existing services and add support for new services and programs where there is high need and the best potential for impact.
Given its core mission, the International Center has been a valuable partner in prioritizing where funds should be allocated. University leadership has also received input from deans in academic units.
By allocating some money to the International Center Grant Fund, student organizations and departments will also have an opportunity to allocate funds towards programming, events and initiatives of particular interest or benefit to the international student community. The university has also drawn on past surveys of students for needed services in making these determinations.
Was the fee initiated because of changing federal immigration policy?
No. This fee was implemented to help to address increased costs and the expansion of services during a time of declining state appropriations support and pressures on the university’s finances.
Does the international student fee apply to those enrolled in spring/summer?
Yes. The fee will be reduced by half in the spring and summer half-terms.
I am an international Ph.D. student or student appointed as a GSRA, GSSA, or GSI. Am I assessed the fee? Is the fee covered by my appointment?
All Ann Arbor campus international students studying in F and J visa status are assessed the fee along with tuition and other mandatory fees. Consistent with the terms of their offers of admission, the university covers the fee for all Ph.D. students in good academic standing. In addition, the university covers the fee for students appointed as GSIs or GSSAs, in accordance with the Graduate Employees’ Organization collective bargaining agreement.
International students who are appointed as a GRSA but are not Ph.D. students are assessed the fee. As is the case with other university fees, your department may pay the fee on your behalf. Students unclear about whether their fee is covered should contact their departmental supervisor.
I am an international student supported by an external fellowship or U-M fellowship. Am I assessed the fee? Is the fee covered by my appointment?
Yes, you are assessed the fee. Fellowships vary greatly by institutional and grantor conditions, and may cover a portion of your tuition or all tuition and fees, and may include a stipend. The university covers the fee for all Ph.D. students on fellowship.
I am a faculty member who supports an international student as a GSRA on my grant. Is the grant charged the fee?
Under the university’s current tuition waiver policy, student fees for GSRAs are not charged to the sponsored research grant. Fees may be fully or partially covered by the school or college using non-sponsored funds per the terms of GSRAs employment contract. The university covers the fee for all Ph.D. students in good standing, including those appointed as GSRAs. Students unclear about whether their fee is covered should contact their departmental supervisor.
I am an accepted international student who has been issued an I-20 or DS-2019. Does my documentation need to be updated?
No, students do not need to resubmit documents as a result of this fee.
I am an admitted international student, but my I-20 or DS-2019 documents have not been issued. Is the fee reflected in my documents? Do I need to submit additional financial statements?
No, students do not need to resubmit documents as a result of this fee, nor submit additional financial statements.
I am an international student spending a semester off campus while completing an internship, which is one of my degree requirements. Am I assessed the fee during my semester off campus?
If you are enrolled during the semester, including reduced enrollments such as Engineering Co-ops, the fee is assessed alongside other tuition and fees.
Is the international student fee the same amount if I am enrolled as a part-time or NCFD (not a candidate for a degree) student?
I am an international student studying at the University of Michigan as part of an exchange or reciprocity agreement. Am I assessed the international student fee?
No, you are not assessed the international student fee. Generally, an international student studying at U-M as part of an exchange or reciprocity agreement pays their home institution’s tuition and fees. Note that a non-degree-seeking international student who is direct enrolled and not on a reciprocal exchange must pay the international student fee. Check with your U-M school or college program to verify if this applies to you.
Additional details: If you have additional questions or concerns regarding the international fee, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.