Flat-rate tuition led Missouri student to a Kansas university

Wednesday, January 28, 2009 | 5:15 p.m. CST; updated 5:35 p.m. CST, Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The cost of tuition at Pittsburg State University in Kansas is comparable to most public universities in Missouri, but Jennifer Long chose an out-of-state school because of its flat-rate tuition option.

Long is the student Gov. Jay Nixon introduced during his State of the State address Tuesday as an example of the need for more affordability in the Missouri universities. He said cost forced her to leave the state to attend college.

Missouri Public Universities' Tuition Costs

All costs are based upon 12 credit hours and do not reflect any fees the university may charge. Prices based on the 2008-2009 school year as reported on their individual official school websites.

  • Harris Stowe State University: $1968
  • Missouri State University: $2232
  • Lincoln University: $2274
  • Missouri Western State University: $1996.80
  • Missouri Southern State University: $1716
  • Northwest Missouri State University: $2764.68
  • Southeast Missouri State University: $2217.60
  • Truman State University: $3229
  • University of Central Missouri: $2343.60
  • University of Missouri System Schools: $2947.20

In a telephone interview, Long said she looked first at Missouri state schools before deciding on Pittsburg State.

“I checked out Missouri schools before I went to Pitt. It ended up being cheaper,” Long, 23, said.

“I ended up paying $2200 per semester, no matter if I was taking 12 hours or 21 hours,” she said. “I never have to worry about the cost of how many classes I am taking.”

Although she is from Kansas City, Long said she is able to pay in-state tuition under residency regulations covering students who live within two hours of a Kansas college.

“The flat rate clenched the deal, knowing that was all I was going to pay — ever. And Pittsburg turned out to be a great school for me,” Long said. “I love it.”

Truman State University is the only public university in Missouri that offers a flat tuition rate. College costs are the same for a student taking between 12 and 17 hours. Other state universities list a cost per credit hour on their Web sites.

Taking 12 hours at one of Missouri’s 13 public universities ranges in price from $1,716 at Missouri Southern State University to $3,229 at Truman State. All four campuses in the University of Missouri System charge the same tuition price, $2947.20 for 12 credit hours. Semester costs may vary depending on departmental costs and other course fees. For example, MU charges an additional $54.50 per credit hour taken in the engineering department, according to MU's Office of Cashiers Web site.

Pittsburg State University is cheaper than six public universities in Missouri — the four universities in the MU system, Truman State University and Northwest Missouri State University.

The tuition is about the same as the University of Central Missouri, Southeast Missouri State University, Missouri State University and Lincoln University.

Only Missouri Southern State University, Harris Stowe State University and Missouri Western State University are less expensive than Pittsburg State.

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todd cohen January 28, 2009 | 10:34 p.m.

The University of Kansas in Lawrence offers a four-year, fixed tuition rate to incoming first-time freshmen. See

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr January 29, 2009 | 2:48 a.m.

So it does pay for parents and students to shop around in these had economic times.

Maybe this will cause these high priced educational institutes to rethink their policies.

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand January 29, 2009 | 8:20 a.m.

How many Missourians have chosen to attend a Kansas school for this reason? Surely there's some agency or research firm tracking those kinds of things. That would be interesting context so readers will know whether Long is one of many and part of a trend or just a rare exception that Nixon trotted out to try to argue his case.

Considering the record enrollments of the past few years, and the number of out-of-state students, many parents and students still perceive MU as a good value.

(Report Comment)

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