UPDATE: Curators approve tuition and fee increases for UM System

Thursday, January 31, 2013 | 2:33 p.m. CST; updated 8:14 p.m. CST, Thursday, January 31, 2013

KANSAS CITY — An MU in-state undergraduate can expect an average annual tuition and fee increase of $158 beginning this summer session.

The UM System Board of Curators unanimously agreed Thursday to increase tuition and required fees at all four University of Missouri System campuses in fiscal year 2014 by 1.7 percent, or an average of $157 more per year throughout the system for an in-state undergraduate. The 2014 fiscal year includes the 2013-2014 academic year.

The increases set the average annual tuition and required fees for an MU in-state undergraduate at $9,343. 

Roughly 77 percent of MU's 26,966 undergraduates in fall 2012 were Missouri residents, according to the most recent statistics from the university registrar.

MU non-resident undergraduates and graduate students will also see their tuition and fees increase by 1.7 percent.

The system's approved increase is down slightly from a 2 percent jump in tuition and required fees discussed at the board's meeting in December.

Over the past five years, tuition and required fees have been raised by an average of 2.3 percent annually for in-state undergraduate students in the UM System, according to a statement released by UM System President Tim Wolfe.

Required fees for students at MU include an information technology fee, a recreation facility fee and a health services fee. Other additional fees such as student housing and food plans are not incorporated into the required fees.

The curators' approval also allows the University of Missouri-St.Louis to restructure its base tuition to include such activity, facility and health services fees as one flat fee.

UMSL Chancellor Thomas George said the single price makes it easier for students and parents to view their payment statements and understand exactly what they're paying for.

Curator Don Downing was complimentary of UMSL's decision. He said he foresees other UM campuses transitioning to the "one sticker price" approach.

Along with the tuition increase, the curators approved several supplemental course-fee increases at each campus.

The additional fee for MU engineering courses will rise more than $4 per semester to $78.40 per credit hour to accommodate additional teaching assistants and graders for increased class sizes, according to system documents.

MU's College of Arts and Science will expand its laboratory fees to courses that aren't traditional science courses but have laboratory components such as anthropology, film studies and theater. The laboratory fee also will rise by more than $4 per credit hour.

The curators agreed to boost the cost for the average housing and food plan to $8,780 a year, $255 more than the package costs in fiscal year 2013.

The curators will reconvene Friday morning at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and Wolfe will present his first State of the University address.

Other items of note from Thursday's meeting:

Budget assumptions: Nikki Krawitz, the system's vice president for finance and administration, presented budget assumptions for the next three fiscal years. Krawitz's scenarios projected the system running a $16.2 million to $30.9 million deficit within that time.

She also gave a preliminary description of next year's budget but said she couldn't provide definitive details until the system's official operating budget for fiscal year 2014 is presented to the board at its June meeting.

"Something tells me that this year is like other years. We won’t know exactly what our budget is until May," Downing said, referring to the state legislature's budget deadline, which affects the system's final budget.

UMKC housing: The board approved $24.8 million in debt financing for UMKC housing. UMKC plans to build a 245-bed student-housing complex next to its Hospital Hill campus, the location of the university's dentistry, pharmacy, nursing and medicine schools. UMKC will fund the debt through housing and parking revenue. The project costs $29.3 million in total.

Sequestration update: Steve Knorr, system vice president for government relations, gave the board an update on the potential federal sequestration in March. Sequestration would bring about deep, across-the-board cuts to vital segments of the system, including federally supported research and student financial aid.

Sequestration was postponed on Jan. 1 when the White House and Congress managed to strike a deal before the nation went over the "fiscal cliff."

Knorr said he's seen no signs of an agreement this time around. "Congress seems to be OK with allowing sequestration to go through," he said. "It could have a real impact on this fiscal year."

Supervising editor is Elizabeth Brixey.

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