COLUMBIA — With expected tuition and fee increases in 2012, University of Missouri System campuses want to pump a portion of that money back into financial aid for students.
UM System administrators set a target of 20 percent of revenue from the 5.5 percent tuition and fees increase to be used for financial aid in fiscal year 2012. The tuition increase was approved by the UM System Board of Curators in January.
Each of the system's four campuses will allocate the financial aid to meet student needs.
MU plans to allocate the reinvestment money to automatic scholarships, need-based aid and matching aid received from the federal government for two programs, Federal Supplementary Educational Opportunity Grant and work study, according to Jim Brooks, director of student financial aid.
In 2011, student financial aid at MU totaled $112 million, according to the MU Budget Office website.
Reinvestment of tuition increases in to aid is a common method used by the UM System to increase financial assistance.
“Our four campuses work very hard with students to help them stay in school and come to school, and we use our financial aid awards to help make that possible,” said Nikki Krawitz, UM System vice president for finance and administration. “The goal is to make affordable education for students.”
The tuition increase is pending approval by the state Department of Higher Education, which requires the system to submit a waiver to increase tuition beyond the rate of inflation. The waiver has not yet been approved.
MU could see an increase of approximately $13 million in revenue generated from the 5.8 percent tuition and fees increase. From that revenue, $2.7 million would be put toward financial aid.
Chancellor Brady Deaton will also allocate $1.5 million more to financial aid for enrollment growth. With no tuition increases over the past two years, Deaton has designated increases to financial aid to cope with more students needing financial assistance.
"There was some additional money added to the scholarship budget because we were trying to stretch dollars farther," Brooks said.
According to Krawitz, 76 percent of students on the system's four campuses require some type of financial aid. Student needs are calculated on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form. From there, financial aid offices on the system's campuses review the applications and decide which students will receive assistance, Krawitz said.
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid priority deadline is March 1, and the information will give financial aid offices an early understanding of student finances. The MU Office of Financial Aid wants to have financial aid packages available to first-time students by April 1.
“It puts some of the tuition increase back into the aid program to help students that may not otherwise have options to pay the tuition increase,” Brooks said.
Sticker price versus actual cost is the focus for Krawitz. In her presentation to the curators in January, she said the sticker price of $8,917 for tuition and required fees is not indicative of what the student often pays. The average student at MU is projected to receive $4,107 in grant aid, or 46.1 percent of tuition and required fees.
In 2010, students across the system with family incomes of less than $40,000 had 88.9 percent of their tuition and fees paid for with financial aid.