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University of Missouri System takes part in national effort to provide accessible, affordable, quality higher education

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John Fougere

Chief Communications Officer

University Relations

Oct 05, 2012

The four campuses of the University of Missouri System are participating in a national effort sponsored by the Association of Public Land-Grant Universities and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities to provide accessible, affordable and quality higher education for all students.

The statement, “A Commitment to the Future,” affirms the university’s commitment to achieving “best in the world” degree status for the United States by doing its part to improve degree attainment through enhanced educational quality; upholding the principles of student access, success and diversity; reducing the average time to degree completion; constraining student expenses where possible; and supporting economic growth, among other things. In all, nearly 500 public universities and colleges have signed the APLU-AASCU statement.

“As the state’s largest provider of public higher education in Missouri, we witness every day the life-changing effect a college education has on a person, their family and even the community in which they live and work,” said UM System President Tim Wolfe. “Our continued goal is to extend the benefits of education to any and all Missourians who dream of earning a college degree.”

Some of those initiatives include:

  • Significantly increasing enrollment on our four campuses. In the last 15 years, enrollment has increased 40 percent from 53,547 in 1997 to our current enrollment of about 75,000.
  • Increasing the number of graduates by 12 percent in the last five years.
  • Keeping tuition increases modest so that cost is not a barrier to attainment. As a result, the university has increased tuition only an average of 2.86 percent annually during the last five years, compared to 6.1 percent in surrounding states.
  • Investing more in financial aid for students. During the last decade, the University of Missouri System has increased institutional financial aid by about 80 percent and awarded $102 million in institutional grant aid last year alone. In March, the system leveraged more than $1 million from lottery proceeds by raising an additional $1.1 million to create 56 new need-based scholarships for undergraduates.
  • Reducing administrative expenses, which can affect the ultimate cost of education. The UM System’s costs for general administrative services, executive management, legal and fiscal operations, development and physical plant operations were 21 percent less than the national average of public doctoral universities.
  • Improving six-year graduation rates, which have increased 3 percent for freshmen during the last five years and 5 percent for transfer students.
  • Helping ensure a diverse—and successful—student body through its commitment to the national Access to Success Initiative. In the last five years, the total numbers of low-income freshmen are up 30 percent across our system, and underrepresented minority freshmen are up 13 percent. Total number of degrees awarded to underrepresented minority students is also up by 26 percent in the last five years.

For more information on “A Commitment to the Future,” please visit www.aplu.org or www.aascu.org.