KANSAS CITY — The top 10 percent of Missouri high school graduates will automatically be eligible to enroll at any of the four UM campuses after a vote by the University of Missouri System’s Board of Curators on Thursday.
Approximately 200 additional students would be admitted to the University of Missouri-Columbia as a result of the new enrollment policy, Chancellor Brady Deaton said.
“It’s more a public relations move than changes to the academic quality,” Deaton said.
At its regular public meeting in Kansas City, the board also discussed possible new tuition policies and ways to improve health care education within the system.
Under the proposed tuition plan, which is still under consideration, tuition increases would be tied to the rate of inflation and would be announced a year before going into effect, said Nikki Krawitz, vice president for finance and administration.
“We believe this policy addresses the public and student concerns that tuition be more stable,” Krawitz said.
Although she said it was not perfect, it would create a sense of predictability and stability.
Curator Doug Russell said that only the university, not students and parents, would benefit from increased predictability.
“I believe we’re just looking at one side of the ledger,” he said.
Maria Curtis, a student representative to the board from the University of Missouri–St. Louis, said several students she has spoken with favor a tuition policy that explains the reasons for increases.
“It won’t solve all our problems, but it will communicate what’s going on,” she said.
Speaking on a panel that included UM System health education and health care officials, representatives from MU said budget and space constraints limit the number of health care graduates the university can produce.
“You’ve got to be getting out of the box,” said Curator Don Walsworth. He suggested pipeline programs to prepare high school students for health care careers and partnering the UM System with area hospitals to gain space and financial aid.
In what Board of Curators President Tom Atkins characterized as a boost to research for the MU medical community, the curators authorized the formation of a limited liability company to operate a cyclotron facility at MU with Mid-America Cyclotron Inc. A cyclotron is a machine used to accelerate charged particles to high energies.
After a heated and lengthy debate, the board voted 6-3 to support the Sue Shear Institute for Women in Public Life, an organization that aims to bring more women into public office.
The institute has received considerable attention in recent months from curators and the press because the political organization focuses exclusively on women and uses public funds.
“Placing any program in preferential status is not good,” Russell said before voting against the resolution.
Curator Marion Cairns, who voted in support of the measure, said the program has received undue attention.
“This should never have reached this level,” she said.
Russell defended his and other curators’ questioning the program.
“It’s a pro-action response,” he said. “And I’m not sure why some would take offense to it.”