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Feb. 23, 2012 Volume 33, No. 21

University curators raise in-state tuition 3 percent


UM still faces $47.1 million shortfall

The University of Missouri Board of Curators voted Monday to raise tuition for in-state undergraduates to the rate of inflation of 3 percent.

Among the reasons curators gave for the relatively low increase — at one point a 6.5 percent increase was on the table — was so Missouri residents can better afford higher education, and because of Gov. Jay Nixon’s recommendation earlier this month of restoring $40 million in public funding for state higher education for fiscal year 2013.

In January, Nixon’s budget agenda included a 12.5 percent cut to state higher education funds. The restoration, due to a settlement involving the nation’s five largest mortgage banks, would lower the overall cut to about 8 percent.

Since the in-state tuition increase is within the Consumer Price Index of 3 percent, the university will not have to seek a tuition waiver from the commissioner of the Department of Higher Education, per Senate Bill 389.

Despite the governor’s proposed reduction in state appropriations for higher education and the 3 percent tuition increase, UM System President Tim Wolfe said the university still faces a $47.1 million budget gap.

“We recognize that we can no longer rely on the state to be a primary funding source for higher education,” Wolfe said. “As a result, we continue to work diligently to pursue public-private partnerships, research and patenting opportunities that can add even more licensing income to our bottom line, as well as other sources of outside revenue.”

Wolfe said that the state cut to public colleges and universities may mean layoffs and program eliminations within the UM System.

While the state’s revenue crunch is understood, Wolfe said, there remains “difficult budget decisions” for the university to make.