The cost of the most popular room and board plans at MU will increase by an average of 0.2% — only $19 — next academic year if changes recommended by the University of Missouri System Board of Curators Finance Committee on Tuesday are approved by the full board.
The committee unanimously voted to approve the fiscal 2021 student housing and dining rates at a meeting based in Columbia.
“Predominant” rates are determined by using the average cost for a traditional double room and the cost of the anticipated most popular meal plan, the Tiger Plan Plus. Those costs would increase from $9,653 to $9,672 per year if the full board votes to move forward with the changes at its Nov. 21 meeting in St. Louis.
UM spokesperson Christian Basi said the small increase comes after two years of decreases. MU is “always looking for ways that we can reduce the cost to students,” he said.
Those ways can include not filling empty staff positions and changing vendor contracts or technology, Basi said. Aside from saving some money for future building maintenance, university housing aims to break even financially, he said. It doesn’t generate profits to be used elsewhere in the university.
Some students could actually see their costs drop next year, while those who choose higher-end living arrangements will have to contend with a steeper increase.
Low-cost and midrange double rooms would stay at the same price: $5,999 per academic year and $6,550 per academic year, respectively.
Housing costs for students who select premium doubles, suites, semi-suites or single rooms would rise, most by 2% or 3%. The steepest proposed increase is for a double suite, which could rise in cost nearly 8% from $9,275 to $9,995.
MU off-campus apartment costs for fiscal 2021 will range from $4,375 to $10,295, compared to a range of $4,150 to $9,995 this fiscal year.
Costs for nearly all meal plans would hold steady, while the Tiger Plan Plus price will be reduced by $50, from $3,000 to $2,950.
If approved, all rate changes will be effective for Summer Session 2020.
MU’s predominant room and board costs and this year’s proposed increase are the lowest in the UM System. The University of Missouri-St. Louis, Missouri University of Science and Technology and University of Missouri-Kansas City have planned rate increases of 0.7%, 1.5% and 2.4%, respectively.
Ryan Rapp, UM’s chief financial officer, said the proposed increases would be competitive with those at other Missouri universities and neighboring flagship universities. He added the system is looking to expand the range of housing options available, as some students want more amenities, while others prefer lower-cost “more Spartan dwellings.”
Rapp said UM is considering how best to deal with fluctuating freshman classes, including partnering with the private sector to house students. MU housing is at 96% capacity, he said. The university has a three-year lease with an off-campus property, and Responsibility Hall will also become available to house MU students next year.
The Finance Committee also heard an investment performance review for fiscal 2019 and voted to approve the Bloch Heritage Hall Renovation and Addition at UMKC.
Supervising editor is Hannah Hoffmeister.