The University of Missouri Board of Curators will vote Thursday on the smallest tuition increase since 2001-02.
A 3.5 percent increase for the 2005-06 school year will be formally proposed by Elson Floyd, president of the University of Missouri System, when the curators gather at MU.
UM spokesman Joe Moore said the latest proposal for the increase keeps up with the rate of inflation and is a necessary measure.
“This year, Dr. Floyd decided to recommend an increase no higher than the rate of inflation and signal it early — in November — in order to give families and students as much notice as possible so that they could plan accordingly,” Moore said.
The increase still hurts the chances of needier high school students applying to MU, said Bruce Brotzman, principal of Rock Bridge High School.
“In the best of worlds, it would be great if they did not have to increase tuition at all,” Brotzman said. “Obviously for some of our students, tuition becomes a barrier. They’re not able to afford to go to college at all.”
Brotzman said he does appreciate the efforts to keep increases low.
“I do respect the fact that they’re able to hold the amount of the increase to a minimum and keep it at the rate of inflation and not something greater than that,” he said. “I still have some level of concern that it creates a barrier to more and more students as tuition goes up.”
With increases in each of the past three years, tuition has risen from $141.50 per credit hour in 2001-02 to the current $209.20. Before 2001, tuition increases, like the one proposed, followed the rate of inflation.
The board approved increases of 14.8 percent for 2002-03, 19.8 percent for 2003-04 and 7.5 percent for the 2004-05 school year.
At MU under the proposed increase, an in-state undergraduate student can expect to pay $216.50 per credit hour, $7.30 more than this year. An out-of-state undergraduate will pay $542.40 per credit hour instead of the $524.10 this year.
MU’s School of Law faces the highest increase, at 5.4 percent — from $401.40 to $423.10 per credit hour for in-state residents and from $792.70 to $835.50 per credit hour for out-of-state students. The curators’ proposal summary said the extra 1.9 percent would be used to “enhance faculty compensation.”
No changes in fees are planned for the medical program at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and the optometry program at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
MU students such as senior psychology major Michael Chladek seem skeptical about the increases.
“I guess I’m disappointed,” Chladek said Tuesday. “I think the university can be more fiscally responsible with what they have.”
Chladek and senior advertising major Brandon Blackburn have been at MU since the tuition increases started in 2001.
“There’s been an increase every year since I’ve been here, so it’s not really a surprise if there’s another one,” Blackburn said.
The board will also vote on student activity, facility and health services fees for the UM system. The curators are looking at 1.6 percent increases for MU undergraduate and graduate students — $4.61 more.
This will be the board’s first meeting since the appointment of three new members. Doug Russell of Lebanon, John Carnahan III of Springfield and David Wasinger of St. Louis were appointed to succeed Mary James of Harrisonville, Sean McGinnis of Springfield and Connie Burkhardt of St. Louis.
Gov. Matt Blunt nominated the newcomers Jan. 25. The three have yet to obtain Senate approval. If they still have not been approved by Thursday’s meeting, they will not be able to vote on any of the proposals.
The board will also vote on creation of a two-story, 35,700-square-foot addition to the Mizzou Student-Athlete Academic and Training Facility on the MU Athletic Sports Park and will also consider renovations to the University Center East at the University of Missouri-Rolla and MU’s Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute.