ROLLA – The UM System Board of Curators is one step away from giving students and their parents relief from increasing student tuition, if a deal to fund higher education at current levels survives the General Assembly.
During Thursday's meeting at Missouri University of Science and Technology, the Finance Committee of the board of curators voted to continue current tuition costs for undergraduate and graduate students for the next fiscal year. Base tuition for all full-time UM System undergraduate students would remain at $7,368.
The full board is expected to vote on the issue Friday.
After increases of 3.8 percent, 5 percent and 4.1 percent during the last three fiscal years, the approval of the full board would keep the tuition rate stabilized next school year.
In January, Gov. Jay Nixon proposed a budget that would retain full funding for higher education in return for a promise not to raise tuition. The House has already passed a state budget with full appropriations for higher education intact.
Nikki Krawitz, vice president for finance and administration for the UM System, said the deal is beneficial for all sides involved.
“It’s a good deal for the students,” Krawitz said. “Considering the economic situation, it’s good for the university and a bold move by the governor.”
“We had an agreement with the governor that we would not raise tuition if the state doesn’t decrease appropriation. The action item is contingent on the state keeping its end of the bargain by not decreasing its appropriation funds.”
On March 26, the Missouri House approved the 13 bills making up the FY 2010 budget. The budget is now being debated in the state Senate.
Krawitz said she is not worried about the state not following through on its part of the deal.
“The state appears to be committed to keep its end of the bargain,” she said. “It was Nixon’s proposal, and the House has passed the budget. I just hope that the Senate does the same.”
Chancellor Brady Deaton said the MU student body will be happy with the agreement once it is passed into both the state’s and the curators' FY 2010 budget.
“Students should be pleased with the tentative agreement being made,” Deaton said. “Overall, it’s serving the needs of the students very well.”
On Friday, the curators are expected to also take action on the UM System's retirement, disability and death benefit plan.