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Worried about the breakneck pace of university tuition inflation? TIME Detroit bureau chief William McWhirter reports that Wednesday, Michigan State University will become the first major U.S. educational institution to promise at least four straight years of tuition increases no faster than the rate of inflation -- a potential slap at private and state universities whch have complained that they'd go belly-up if they took such a step. "It's going to be a shot across the fiscal management bow of every other university in the country," says McWhirter, who spoke to sources close to the school's board. The reason Michigan State took the initiative, McWhirter says, is that university President Peter McPherson -- a former Reagan-Bush deputy Treasury secretary -- came from the world of finance and "has been a crusader for strict budgetary accountability. It's a philosophy much closer to market pricing -- and clearly driven by what people are willing to pay, not what it costs to produce."