MU might increase tuition by 3 percent

Inflation and cuts in state spending could increase the price tag of college tuition and fees.

David Wettroth / Graphic Designer

The price tag of a college education is looking a little steeper these days.

Due to an increase in this year’s consumer price index, the cost of tuition could edge up by 3 percent. This would be the second year in a row, after a two-year tuition freeze, that the cost has increased.

“The planned increase is really a placeholder for inflation, which is estimated to be near 3 percent,” Director of Budget Tim Rooney said. “If inflation is more, the tuition might be higher. If tuition is less, it might be lower. Senate Bill 389 constrains our ability to increase tuition beyond inflation, so that’s why we’ve settled on this for now.”

Per Senate Bill 389, schools are not allowed to raise tuition by more than the rate of inflation without getting permission from the Missouri Department of Higher Education. As of now, the price increase has not been approved.

The rising cost is due to both inflation and cuts in state funding. This school year, MU received permission to raise tuition and fees by 5.8 percent. The state also cut university support by 8.1 percent the same year.

“It’s the cost of doing business,” said Alysha O’Neil, fiscal officer for the Office of Student Affairs. “As prices increase throughout the United States and the world, our cost increases to provide education.”

The 3 percent increase would add about $8 more per credit hour for MU undergraduates. Resident students would pay $269.40 per credit hour, an increase from the current $261.60. Non-resident students would pay $708.70 per credit hour.

“I think it is very reasonable considering the size of tuition increases at many of our peer institutions and the continuing loss of state funding we are experiencing here at MU,” Rooney said.

Residential charges and student health fees could also see a 3 percent hike. The cost of the increases would net revenues of about $3.6 million, excluding the portion taken out for scholarships.

Previously awarded scholarships are expected to rise in accordance with tuition.

“If a student was awarded a certain scholarship their freshman year and tuition increases, they try to increase those scholarships along with that,” O’Neil said. “If tuition is going up by 3 percent, the scholarship budget is going to increase by 3 percent as well. They set aside money that they are expected to get from a tuition increase and put it straight into the scholarship budget.”

The 3 percent tuition increase will be finalized early next year after the level of state support, revenue from other sources, actions to reduce and control cost and increases in other expenses are determined.

“The final amount of the increase that will be recommended to the Board for approval in February,” said Nikki Krawitz, UM System vice president for finance and administration.

O’Neil said she feels the tuition hike could be good for MU.

“The chancellor and the budget director and the provost along with their staff do the best they can to provide the best education possible with the funding they have,” O’Neil said. “They have worked very hard to try and achieve efficiency and effectiveness in the last 15 years."

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