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Curators vote to raise tuition across UM System

Monday, February 20, 2012 | 1:21 p.m. CST; updated 8:54 p.m. CST, Monday, February 20, 2012

COLUMBIA — The UM System Board of Curators voted Monday to raise MU undergraduate tuition by 3 percent for residents and 7.5 percent for nonresidents.

The percent increase will mean that in-state tuition, for a student taking 12 credit hours, will now cost $3,232.80 compared to $3,139.20 for the 2012 fiscal year. Similarly, out-of-state tuition for a student taking 12 credit hours will now cost $8,876.4 compared to $8,017.20 for the 2012 fiscal year.

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The increase takes effect for classes this summer.

The unanimous vote comes after Gov. Jay Nixon proposed a 15 percent cut in state funding for higher education in January. Nixon later said he would add a one-time allocation of $40 million from a national mortgage settlement to higher education, bringing the cut in state funding down to 9 percent from last year's budget.

Although curators have the power to vote again on tuition if the settlement money doesn't come through, Nikki Krawitz, UM System vice president for finance administration, said Monday's vote is likely final.

"This would probably stick, and we would have to look at other options and address that in a subsequent year," Krawitz said at a news conference after the board meeting.

With the tuition increases, the system will still have a budget gap of $47.1 million. The board recognized that tough decisions will have to be made to fund this gap. 

Krawitz said at the meeting that between 200 and 245 faculty and staff positions will likely have to be cut. About one-third of these cuts will come from positions that are currently filled, she said.

"We will not talk about the specifics," new system President Tim Wolfe said. "That's a work in process. We are doing our best to save every single role we've got, but unfortunately, the budget process just won't allow that to happen."

Krawitz said that by April, the board will have more information about where the cuts might come from. The budget must be finalized in June.

Wolfe said, however, that tuition increases and cutting positions alone will not bridge the gap.

"This $47 million gap that we described to you, we need help," Wolfe said at the news conference. "We need more money, and we're looking for more sources of money. In the snapshot in time, that's where it is today. We need help."

The working budget for the UM System still includes a 3 percent merit-based salary increase for faculty. Wolfe said this increase was necessary to maintain what he called academic success. He was referring to one of the system's goals in developing the budget: "Maintaining and enhancing the quality of the student academic experience is the highest priority."

"We have to address this challenge that we have in paying our people at market rates," Wolfe said. 

The new in-state, undergraduate tuition increase reflects the rate of inflation, also 3 percent. Curators cannot raise in-state tuition by more than the rate of inflation without receiving a waiver from the state Coordinating Board for Higher Education.

Curators do not need a waiver to raise out-of-state tuition. 

Undergraduate tuition is increasing systemwide by at least 2.9 percent. Here is the breakdown at campuses other than MU:

  • University of Missouri-Kansas City: 3 percent, both residents and nonresidents.
  • University of Missouri-St. Louis: 3.1 percent, residents; 8.2 percent, nonresidents.
  • Missouri University of Science and Technology: 2.9 percent, residents; 8.5 percent, nonresidents.

Fee increases were approved earlier this month.


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