Forsee suggests tuition increase for 2012-13 academic year

The UM system president addressed the Board of Curators on Friday.

The UM system Board of Curators met Thursday and Friday in Springfield for the board’s first meeting of the academic year. Issue updates and the system’s financial situation dominated discussion over the course of the meetings.

UM system President Gary Forsee began Friday morning’s meetings with an address focusing on the financial situation of the university system.

The address centered on the development and analysis of shared service programs for the system and the financial progress that can be gained from streamlining back office processes across all four campuses.

“We wanted to look at the most frequent back office processes to take a look at what could become a more efficient, share service product,” Forsee said.

By cutting down on inefficient processes, the UM system can cut costs in the long run, Forsee said, but the system must maintain a focus on the quality of service provided.

Chancellor Brady Deaton also addressed the curators Friday morning, highlighting enrollment issues and progress in student diversity and retention.

Deaton addressed the future of enrollment, noting a decline in the projected number of Missouri high school graduates for the future and said the university is preparing for the future from a revenue standpoint.

“We’re obviously looking ahead here,” Deaton said.

The university provided $110 million in financial aid to students this academic year, Deaton said, all of which came from the university budget through merit- and need-based scholarships and other forms of financial aid. In addition, 300 new, part-time student jobs were created this year, providing an addition $1 million in money going to students.

Deaton touched on the universities' attempts to make off-campus student housing options more inclusive with main campus, noting that students in off-campus housing are awarded the same opportunities with faculty and staff, and can make use of most on-campus facilities.

MU Health System Vice Chancellor Harold Williamson highlighted the variety of grants awarded to the Health Care System, including four grants totaling more than $22.5 million awarded to the MU School of Medicine.

Like other colleges in the university, Williamson said, enrollment in the School of Health Professions is up 128 percent since 2002, and the range of programs offered there continues to grow.

"The transformation of the health sciences part of our campus is stunning," Williamson said.

The demolition of Cramer and Stafford residence halls was the beginning of the Patient Care Tower project, Williamson said, which includes the Ellis Fischel Cancer Center and is slated to be completed by 2013.

Betsy Rodriguez, UM system vice president for Human Relations, presented Thursday an employee retirement plan project update to the board.

Curators anticipate a 15 percent increase in payment plan premiums for certain staff benefits. There will also be additional dialogue between members of the committee and MU stakeholders, regarding changes to the retirement plan.

In November, curators anticipate a committee report and a possible recommendation for changes at the December board meetings.

Student leaders from all four UM campuses also made their presence felt at last week’s meetings.

Missouri Students Association President Tim Noce, MSA Director of Student Services Kaitlin Oxenreider and UM-St. Louis Student Government Association President Dan Rosner said they wanted to show the board students are involved with the issues discussed at the meetings.

"We're trying to make our presence known and show that students care about the issues," Noce said.

Student government representatives from UM campuses work together as a part of the Intercampus Student Council, Noce and Rosner said. ISC is working with Student Representative to the Board Laura Confer, about issues to bring to future curators meetings.

"We are working on things like student conduct and non-discrimination policies," Noce said.

ISC will continue to work on proposals to present to the board, but Noce said a proposal might not happen at the December curators meeting.

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