UM System tuition increases slated for 2011-12 school year

Friday, December 10, 2010 | 5:53 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — The UM System Board of Curators said Friday the probable tuition increases for the four system campuses would begin in the summer of the 2011-12 school year.

Citing state budget cuts and expanding enrollment rates, officials said a tuition hike was likely to be unavoidable.

The curators met Thursday and Friday at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Officials at the meeting stressed that current resources did not meet the demands of swelling campus populations, and a two-year freeze on tuition was likely to come to an end.

State reduction in appropriations is one factor that could contribute to a tuition increase. Although the system won’t have the governor’s recommended budget until mid-January, they expect cuts from 5 to 15 percent. That could create a funding gap as large as $105 million. The legislature approves a final budget in May.

Nikki Krawitz, the system's vice president for finance and administration, said the gap would not be filled entirely by tuition increases. For instance, she said a 5 percent net increase in tuition and fees would generate about $22.1 million for the university; a 10 percent increase would generate $44.2 million.

Board Vice Chairman Warren Erdman suggested students at the Columbia and Rolla campuses could feel the impact more than their counterparts in St. Louis and Kansas City because the system is considering uncoupling tuition increases among the schools.

With the nature of their markets, MU and Missouri University of Science and Technology have the potential to charge more, Krawitz said. Given their urban environments, she said UMSL and UMKC faced greater competition from surrounding universities and may feel a greater need to keep their tuition costs low.

"The system is very cognizant of each school’s market," she said.

In order for public higher education institutions in Missouri to raise tuition more than the consumer price index, they will have to apply to the Missouri Department of Higher Education for a tuition waiver.

“When inflation is under 2 percent, that doesn’t leave you much of a choice,” Erdman said.

Final action on tuition increases will likely be taken at the Board of Curators meeting  Jan. 27-28 in Columbia.

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Ellis Smith December 11, 2010 | 4:59 a.m.

So, the concept of decoupling tuition rates at the four campuses, first proposed during the Floyd administration, may come to pass.

If tuition rates are truly allowed to "float," the one which will float highest will be for Missouri University of Science & Technology. This is what we told Floyd back then. It will happen because:

1- Currently there would need to be a significant increase in tuition at MS&T to make a dent in the number of applications by prospective students, and...

2-When a campus is already "maxed out" for space, how worried should we be if there is some decrease in new student applications?

"The system is very cognizant of each school's market." We know you mean well, but spare us that nonsense! We even misread the current market.

What will end up happening is what we now have at one campus, admission standards that "defacto" are demonstrably higher than those for the other campuses.

If we could just do something about those pathetic faculty salaries (at all four campuses)...

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