SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Missouri State University revealed a plan to limit the cost of higher education for its students.
MSU is anticipating cuts from state funding which could translate into an increase in tuition and fees. The changes announced Thursday, administrators say, will hopefully help offset that cost.
“It is very expensive to go to school here,” said Micaela Edwards, a junior at MSU.
And most students on campus will probably tell you the same thing. It now costs$7,306 a year to attend MSU but it could get more expensive.
“Very much dependent on the magnitude of the cut,” said MSU President Clif Smart.
$300 million could be on the chopping block for the 2019 state budget and that means some cuts for MSU.
Smart says 98 percent of the money needed to operate the university comes from two sources – 64 percent from students, who pay tuition and fees, the other 34 percent comes from the state.
In 2018, MSU received $83 million dollars from the state.
“Last year we took a nine percent cut,” Smart said. “We are frankly anticipating receiving a similar size cut this year.”
That’s about $8 million MSU might not get from the state, so it has to make it up somehow.
“We may have to raise tuition,” Smart said.
“I know that there are people like me who struggle to pay for our tuition and it would be nice if they would decrease rather than increase,” said Macy Ellis. a junior at MSU.
President Smart announced Thursday MSU will try to soften that blow by reducing the number of hours needed to graduate from 125 to 120.
“If you’re an undergraduate, in-state, Missouri resident that can save you more than a $1,000,” he said.
MSU will freeze the cost of meal plans and housing in three of its most popular residence halls – Hammons, Hutchens and Scholars House, which right now can range from $9,016 to $10,244 a year.
“It will cost exactly the same to live there next year as it cost this year,” he said.
The university is working on lowering the cost of books by using more electronic books that Smart says are much less expensive.
“I spend more money than I would like to on textbooks that I will use one week out of the whole semester,” said Edwards. “Right now it’s outrageous; I spent $400 for three books.”
MSU says it will also create more scholarship opportunities benefiting 750 more incoming freshmen and increasing the value of other scholarships.
Smart says MSU will keep tuition and fees as low as it can, but there’s no question that if the state continues to make cuts to education every year, some of that is going to be passed on to students.