A 4.4 percent increase in room and board and a 7.1 percent increase in student activity fees were approved along with a 3.9 percent meal plan rise for the MU campus by the University of Missouri System Board of Curators at its meeting Friday in St. Louis. The board approved different rates of increase for the four UM System campuses. Those increases ranged from 1.6 percent to 7.1 percent.
The fees, which will go into effect this summer, mean MU undergraduate students will pay an extra $22 — from about $313 to $335 — in student activity, facility and health service fees. The amount of the room and board increase will vary by residence hall and meal plan.
In his State of the State address last week, Gov. Matt Blunt recommended increasing the UM System’s budget by $17.4 million, or 4.2 percent. To avoid raising tuition in 2008, the board said, the UM System would need a 12 percent increase in state appropriations.
In April, the board will vote whether to increase in-state undergraduate tuition for the 2007-08 academic year at system campuses. The proposed tuition increase is 3.8 percent — the rate of inflation, according to the board — and an increase of $258, which would bring tuition to $7,077 per academic year for Missouri residents.
An August 2006 audit by former Missouri State Auditor Claire McCaskill said Missouri’s public institutions had some of the highest tuition levels in the Midwest. This is true even though, for the past two years, the average annual tuition level increase — 27 percent — has been the lowest of the Big 12 states.
Even so, the report said tuition increased at rates higher than inflation and personal income.
Legislation that would cap tuition increases to the rate of inflation is expected to be introduced in the Missouri Senate on Monday.
Also at Friday’s meeting, the board awarded 15-year-old Mitchell Hults a $5,000 scholarship to the University of Missouri-St. Louis in recognition of his role in the rescue of missing boys Shawn Hornbeck and Ben Ownby.
Hults noticed the white truck described by police as the vehicle associated with Ownby’s disappearance.
“I know that I speak for all Missourians when I say we are very proud of you and what you have done,” said Don Walsworth, board chairman.
Tom George, the chancellor at UMSL, presented Hults with the scholarship.
Curator David Wasinger and his wife, Colleen, also presented Hults a $1,000 scholarship to any campus in the UM System.