Tuition increase attempts to close budget deficit

The increase will bring in about $18.7 million to MU.

Ashley Lane / Graphic Designer

Following Gov. Jay Nixon's decision to cut higher education spending for the state of Missouri by 7 percent, and MU's decision to increase tuition by 5.8 percent, officials are speaking out about the impact the money will have on the university.

After announcing the increase, Nixon came out with a statement that questioned the UM System Board of Curators' decision.

"This tuition proposal is well beyond the increase in the cost of living allowed by statute," Nixon said in a January statement. "This should get the scrutiny it deserves from the Commissioner of Higher Education."

Office of Student Financial Aid Director Jim Brooks has said the tuition increase will also play a greater role in providing aid for new and returning students.

"The University of Missouri has not raised tuition for Missouri residents during the past two academic years," Brooks said. "Twenty percent of the income from the tuition increase will go toward financial aid during the 2011-2012 school year."

Despite the higher tuition cost that out-of-state students face, Brooks remains adamant that aid is available for anybody who applies.

In the past four years, MU has increased enrollment annually while raising tuition for out-of-state students to attend the school. This fall semester marks the first time tuition will have risen for in-state students in several years.

"We regularly analyze the impact of the enrollment growth upon our students to ensure they are having a quality educational experience and have found many indicators that show that they are," Enrollment Management Vice Provost Ann Korschgen said.

MU spokesman Christian Basi said the university is currently facing a $7 million deficit. He also said that MU would gain revenue of roughly $18.7 million from the tuition increase.

"If we wanted to get our maintenance and repair budget back to the way we really wanted to have it, we would have been facing a (greater) budget deficit," Basi said. "We have more than $500 million in repair needs on campus that have not been addressed."

The deficit also includes stabilizing the budget for maintenance and repair. Every year MU budgets 1 percent of the worth of each building on campus for repairs. Basi said due to the state of the budget, these repairs have not been made in several years.

"The cuts from the state are going to be as much $12.7 million to our current budget," Basi said. "We take a portion of the tuition increase and put that into undergraduate scholarships."

Although MU is hoping the increase in revenue will help lessen the impact of the deficit, the university is still using its own money to maintain the quality of life on campus.

"We're also having to dip into our reserves and use about $5 million," Basi said. "With that, we are still facing that deficit."

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