University of Missouri Curators raise tuition rates; new state law poised to raise costs of higher ed

Politics

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Parents and students will be paying more to attend schools in the University of Missouri System and a bill lawmakers passed during the latest legislative session could push tuition prices even higher.

Starting this fall, students that attend Mizzou, UMKC, UMSL, or the University of Missouri of Science and Technology are going to be paying more per credit hour. Before lawmakers adjourned, they sent a bill to the governor’s desk, removing the limit on tuition increases by universities and colleges.

“Everyone will see this increase,” Communications Director for Mizzou Christian Basi said. “If you’re a student at the university, you will see this increase.”

It doesn’t matter if you’re a student headed into your senior year or an incoming freshman, you’re going to pay more to attend school at one of the four University of Missouri campuses.

“We’ve had regular increases over the last several years, mostly to keep up with inflation,” Basi said. “Each campus looks at its own specific needs as well as what is it hoping to do, what can it do currently.”

The UM Board of Curators approved a tuition increase at each campus Wednesday.

For undergraduates that are Missouri residents and attend Mizzou in Columbia, students will see a 5% increase, or $15.30, bringing the total to $321 per credit hour. In Kansas City, UMKC students will see a 4.1% hike, or $12.30, making it nearly $314 per credit hour. For students attending Missouri S&T, they will see an increase of 3.5%, or $10.60, a total of $316 an hour. In St. Louis, the increase at UMSL is 2%, or $7.60, costing $379 per credit hour.

“These additional dollars could help us provide services to students to actually help them graduate sooner,” Basi said.

He said Mizzou plans to use the extra dollars to hire more faculty and create more resources, like tutoring for students.

“These additional dollars could help us provide services to students to actually help them graduate sooner which means that in actuality, they would have less of a financial burden because it would be one less semester or one less year that they are paying tuition,” Basi said.

During the meeting, one of the nine curators voted against the hike.

“An ongoing move that will end up driving kids more into community college and less from the Mizzou experience,” UM Curator David Steelman said. “I think there are social benefits to the melting pot of Mizzou.”

Basi said under state statute, Mizzou could have raised its tuition by 9.1%, but didn’t need to.

“When I say that we analyze and take a look and go, do we need that much?,” Basi said. “We absolutely feel like right now, we don’t need that, so we didn’t ask for it.”

Currently, there is legislation on Gov. Mike Parson’s desk, House Bill 297, that would remove the cap on tuition increases for universities and colleges. Which means, an institution could hike the tuition up to whatever price they want from year to year. Right now, schools cannot raise tuition over the formula tied to the consumer price index.

“People are concerned that it might lead to larger increases,” Basi said.

Also, under HB 297, it allows universities and colleges to charge difference prices for each major.

Instead of having different fees that are out there, an engineering student would get charged one tuition rate and a music student might get charged a different rate because it cost a different amount of money to educate those students,” Basi said.

He said it’s possible Mizzou will charge different tuition amounts based on a student’s major in the coming years.

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