Annual cost of MU tuition set to increase

Mike Presberg

Infographic by Joanne Lee.

The University of Missouri-Columbia system Board of Curators unanimously approved a three percent increase in annual tuition for in-state residents at all four system universities Feb. 20 in an attempt to make headway in reducing the system’s nearly $50 million budget gap.

The increase also included a 7.5 percent hike in out-of-state tuition. Both changes go into effect at the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year.

The university initially proposed raising in-state tuition by 7.5 percent, but the board eventually yielded to Gov. Jay Nixon’s demands and capped the increase at the rate of inflation, which was 2.9 percent in the past year.

In a press release issued immediately after the board made its decision, Nixon’s office said it was pleased with the outcome.

“This decision ensures that more Missouri families will be able to afford a college education that will prepare students for rewarding careers,” read the statement.

During a press conference that took place just after the Board of Curators finalized the tuition hike, Board Chairman David Bradley said reducing the proposed tuition increase was largely made possible by Nixon going back on a cut in state funding for higher education that he proposed in January. Nixon reduced the funding cuts to nine percent from the original proposal, which was 15 percent.

“The board’s decision to hold tuition increases at all four campuses to the rate of inflation is a result of increased operating efficiencies,” Bradley said in a prepared statement. “The governor’s reduction of the proposed cut in state appropriations and our commitment to ensure that a college education is attainable and affordable to all Missourians.”

Although the increase is less than half the amount expected just three weeks prior to the final decision, the money will, nonetheless, have an effect on some RBHS students who plan to attend any of the member colleges in the University of Missouri school system.

Senior David Morris plans to attend the University of Missouri and said, even though tuition will only increase $268 from the current cost of $8,917 each year, the recent increase will mean he will have to concentrate on staying within his budget more than before.

“I’m not going to say that a three percent increase is going to break my back or something, because it’s not, but it could still definitely do some damage,” Morris said. “I’ll have to work that much harder to keep on budget because the last thing I want to do is have to take out loans, even if it’s just a few hundred dollars, because student loans are the main thing I’m trying to avoid right now.”

Mathis said the latest tuition increase is the last straw when it comes to enrolling at MU immediately after completing high school.

“It’s not so much about the extra $300 right now. It’s about the fact that increasing tuition rates signify that the university is in financial trouble, which means that tuition will probably keep increasing,” Mathis said. “I don’t see the reason for going to a financially unstable institution when something like the military is much more stable financially, costs less, and you can eventually get a college education out if it anyway.”
By Mike Presberg