June  2013




We continue to work on behalf of our students and want to thank you for your support.  With your help and interest we can make a difference in our State legislative decision making process.  Make your voices heard, contact your legislators often and share your opinions.   


To help us in our efforts, if you have not already done so, please join the Bronco Legislative Network.  If you are a member, please login and update your information. 

Thanks again for your support,

Go Broncos!


Student Loan Rates Ready to Double   


student loan debt With a July 1 deadline looming, there is still no bipartisan deal in Congress to keep student loan rates from doubling.  


The current 3.4 percent interest rate on the subsidized portion of the federal Stafford loan is set to double to 6.8 percent. Both Democrats and Republicans in Congress say they are intent on finding a solution, but it doesn't look like there is anything in the offing to beat the July 1 deadline.  


In the interest of students, please call your U.S. 

Congressman or Senator and let them know their inaction isn't acceptable. You can find your U.S. Congressman or Senator by clicking here. 


Note: WMU students graduate on average with a student loan debt of $27,600, which is about average for students graduating from Michigan's public universities. Ferris State students have the highest average student loan debt of $35,500. (Source: Project on Student Debt).



Balanced Budget  


For the third consecutive year, lawmakers have passed and the Governor has signed a balanced balance state budget months before the October 1st deadline.  


This year's appropriation, totaling $49 billion,

  • expands preschool for under-served four year olds throughout the state 
  • gives additional monies for road repairs, although the $350 million appropriations for roads is far less than the $1.2 billion sought by the Governor 
  • increases public K-12 schools funding by 3%  
  • increases higher education only 2% overall and restricts tuition to 3.75% or below to receive any additional revenues 
  • deposits $75 million into "savings" bringing the amount of the Rainy Day Fund to over $600 million  

Details of the budget can be found through the following links:


House Bill 4228 -

House Bill 4328 -


  Tuition Approved  

The Western Michigan University Board of Trustees approved tuition rates for the graduation cap 2013-14 academic year, providing for a 3.75% increase, or $373 more than last year's tuition.


The breakdown of the increase includes a $326 (3.57 percent) tuition increase and a $47 increase in required fees. $26 of the fee increase was initiated by students and approved during a campus-wide vote of the student body.  


WMU remains one of the best values among Michigan's 15 public universities.


New Programs at WMU

w Three new programs were approved by the Western Michigan University Board of Trustees during a recent meeting. The additions are in response to growing demands and will further complement the wide array offered by Western Michigan University. The new programs include:

  • Master of Arts in Biological Sciences: a course-only degree that complements the existing research-oriented Master of Science in Biological Sciences.
  • Master of Business Administration-Health Care Concentration: a response to the demand for health care leaders with a strong business background.
  • Master of Arts in Teaching: allows students to complete state certification requirements for initial certification. Options include a secondary sciences teacher education concentration and, for Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellows only, a secondary mathematics teacher education concentration.

Hit the Road  

The 2013 state transportation map is now available - just in time for your Michigan summer road trip!  


In addition to the standard transportation features, there is also general information on Michigan traffic laws, state parks and the Pure Michigan campaign.  


The print map features metro Detroit maps and 15 city maps; the Web version features metro Detroit plus 41 city maps. To access the online version or to request a free paper copy, visit

  mDot header


In This Issue:  



Student Loan Rates Ready  to Double


Balanced Budget  


Tuition Approved    


New Programs at WMU 


Hit the Road 


Weekly Updates:
Interested in weekly updates on what's happening around the State Capitol?

The Bronco Legislative Network has a weekly legislative update with detailed articles of the top stories in the legislature.

  The Bronco Legislative Network     

Upcoming Events 


June 29:   Commencement, 9 am,
12 noon, Miller Auditorium 

Bronco Spotlight   


  Tom Lenard
Tom Lenard

 Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy

College of Arts and Sciences 

What do you do at the state Capitol?

I'm currently the Chief of Staff for State Senator Jim Ananich, who represents Flint and several other areas in Genesee County. In this position, I oversee our legislative, communications, and constituent priorities.

How did you become involved in this business?

It all started with the Capitol Internship Program at WMU! In fact, I met my current boss when we were both interning in Lansing (he was attending MSU). The path to this particular job wound through several positions in Washington, D.C., on campaigns and other offices in Lansing, but the experience and relationships built through WMU started it all.

What do you like best about your work?

I really enjoy getting to work directly on issues that impact so many people - both in our district and across the state. I'm very fortunate that I have a chance to serve others and advocate for people who may not be able to work on these matters full time.

What challenges do you face working in the Capitol in 2013?

The polarization and negativity surrounding politics can be discouraging, but that just makes it even more important for people who want to find common ground and get things done to be involved.

What is your advice for citizens who want to advocate for an issue in the state Capitol?

Don't give up. Too often people might feel like no one is paying attention or that their voice doesn't matter, but if they continue to have a dialogue with their elected officials - especially back home when they run into them in the district - they can make a difference.

Favorite campus activity or Bronco memory?

I had fun campaigning with the College Dems, the van rides to and from Lansing with the internship, and working at the Discount Den. But like any good Bronco, my favorite times were probably whenever we beat CMU!

What do you miss most about Kalamazoo/WMU?

It's a great area that I wish I had the chance to visit more often. The time with my roommates at the house we had on Vine St. was pretty memorable, and of course Bell's!

Any inspirational faculty or administrators at WMU that influenced your college career?

Dr. David Houghton's efforts to create such a great internship program and letting me be a part of it definitely had a profound effect on my career. 

Friends of WMU

The Friends of WMU is an all volunteer bi-partisan state political action committee, registered with the Michigan Secretary of State, and established to promote the interests of Western Michigan University.  The Friends of WMU understands that the state of Michigan needs to be a stronger financial partner with the university and provides support to legislators that place a priority on WMU.  If you are interested in learning more, please visit their website at  Friends of WMU.

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WMU Home Page 





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