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Jan. 27, 2011 Volume 32, No. 17

Curators take up tuition, pay increases

The University of Missouri Board of Curators is expected to raise tuition at its two-day meeting in Columbia this week.

System administrators are recommending that tuition be increased an average of 5.5 percent at the four UM campuses. Recommended increases range from 4.7 percent at the St. louis campus to 6.6 percent at Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla. The Kansas City campus is recommending an increase of 4.8 percent. At MU, the recommended increase is 5.8 percent.

The proposed increase would generate about $30 million and reduce the projected 2012 shortfall in the system’s budget from $72 million to $42 million.

Gov. Jay Nixon has proposed a 7 percent reduction, or $29.8 million, in state appropriations for UM.

The system has not increased tuition in two years, thanks to an agreement with the governor to avert deeper cuts in state appropriations. The system’s fiscal year 2010 appropriation was reduced by 5 percent, but $50 million in federal stimulus funds offset those cuts.

A decade of reductions in state appropriations has made tuition the primary source of funding for UM; about 45 percent of the system’s budget is funded through tuition and fees. Currently, in inflation-adjusted dollars, state spending on UM is about what it was in the mid-1990s. Meanwhile, enrollment at the four campuses has increased by 17,000 students.

The system saved $61 million last year through various cost reductions, and has already identified $11.3 million in “cuts and efficiencies” for 2012.

“Even with the efficiencies and cost reductions in place, this budget reduction will be significantly felt and necessitate further reductions by our campuses, challenging our ability to provide a quality education,” adminstrators said in a Jan. 20 statement.

This is the first time tuition and fees on each campus will be decoupled, allowing campuses to recommend increases based on their particular needs.

Curators will also consider raising nonresident undergraduate and resident and nonresident graduate tuition and fees.