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University of Missouri Statement Regarding State Auditor’s Report on Tuition

Contact

John Fougere

Chief Communications Officer

University Relations

Aug 29, 2006

Contact: Jennifer Hollingshead

Office: (573) 882-0601

E-mail: hollingsheadj@umsystem.edu

The University of Missouri is committed to access, affordability and accountability. In recent years, however, severe state funding cuts and withholdings required tuition increases above inflation. State support for higher education stabilized last year and is authorized to increase by 2 percent in the current budget year, allowing lower tuition increases more in line with inflation.    

The University welcomes Missouri’s reinvestment in public higher education. Traditionally, state funding has provided the largest portion of University revenue. However, after several years of state funding cuts, tuition now accounts for more of the University’s budget than state support. For a graphic illustration of the historical relationship between the University’s two major funding sources (state appropriations and tuition), please visit the following Web address: http://www.umsystem.edu/ums/departments/fa/documents/fund-revenues-slide.pdf.

The Missouri State Auditor’s Office has issued a report entitled “Higher Education Tuition Levels Follow-Up.” The University of Missouri appreciates the State Auditor’s recognition in this report that there is a strong relationship between state support for public higher education and tuition levels. For example, the State Auditor’s report noted that the University of Missouri has one of the highest tuition levels among Big 12 institutions; it is as important to note that the state of Missouri ranks near the bottom of the Big 12 in state funding for its public higher education institutions.

As the State Auditor noted, it is critical to ensure access to higher education. Missouri’s public colleges and universities already devote significant amounts of their state funding to student financial aid.

For example, during the most recent state budget year, the University of Missouri provided $123.5 million in financial aid to students – nearly nine times the $14.3 million in financial aid provided directly to students from the state.
Missouri’s public higher education institutions are working with the Coordinating Board for Higher Education and state government leaders to strengthen and simplify state-funded student financial aid programs.

The University of Missouri concurs with the State Auditor’s recognition of the importance of public higher education institutions seeking greater efficiencies. In July, UM President Elson S. Floyd announced that the University is implementing a plan to save $20 million in administrative costs - far exceeding President Floyd’s original target of $12.4 million in administrative reductions set last December. These administrative savings will be reallocated to specific academic and strategic initiatives. President Floyd has pledged that the University will relentlessly continue to seek such efficiencies.