Board of Curators approves tuition increase for 2019-20 academic year

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Christian Basi

May 15, 2019

University of Missouri institutions remain lower in tuition than any surrounding states

COLUMBIA, Mo. — The University of Missouri Board of Curators approved a 5% tuition increase for undergraduates at all four universities. However, even with the increase, which amounts to between $14.20 and $17.30 per credit hour, tuition at UM institutions remain lower than institutions in surrounding states. Tuition increases at the University of Missouri-Columbia over the last 10 years are the lowest in the nation compared to the 49 other flagship universities. 

“We are very aware of the effect of tuition increases on our students and have worked very hard over the past two years to keep the costs of college under control at University of Missouri institutions,” said Jon Sundvold, chair of the UM Board of Curators. “While we appreciate the excellent financial support we have received from the state, we must take this action to ensure that students are receiving the best education possible and have access to opportunities – such as undergraduate research projects, study abroad programs, hands-on learning classrooms and the latest technology – that will enhance their ability to be successful in their chosen fields.”

Additionally, UM leaders have worked to offset the tuition increases by seeking new investments in scholarship opportunities. This academic year, donors provided more than $50 million that will be matched by the universities as part of the UM System’s Promise & Opportunity and NextGen scholarship programs. Additional work has included reducing room and board rates at some institutions and developing partnerships with major publishing companies to drastically reduce the cost of textbooks. 

“Thousands of University of Missouri students experienced a net decrease in the cost of a college education this year compared to last year as a result of the hard work of our university leaders,” UM President Mun Choi said. “We remain focused on affordability and being held accountable for every dollar we spend. We are grateful that our students and the state of Missouri entrust us with these financial resources, and we will continue our work to focus those financial resources on the educational experience.”

When accounting for inflation, tuition increases for in-state undergraduates at MU over the past 10 years have increased by 1.6% compared to the average of 37.7% for the nation’s other flagship institutions. In the past year, 48% of MU undergraduate students graduated with no debt; the national average is 30%. Constantly looking for operational efficiencies, the four UM System universities have reduced the cost per degree by 40% over the past 18 years while the number of degrees awarded has risen by 65% during the same period.

Additionally, the board approved increases in tuition for two professional schools: an 8% tuition increase for the MU School of Medicine and a 5% tuition increase for the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Pharmacy. The MU School of Medicine has experienced a 120% growth in applications over the last six years, and its nationally recognized Problem Based Learning approach emphasizes small class sizes. Among 15 area medical schools, MU currently ranks as third lowest in tuition. MU officials also are developing new scholarships and low-to-no interest loan programs to offset the costs for students with financial need. UMKC School of Pharmacy graduates have a 97% placement rate in jobs or residencies with a median income of $116,000. In 2018, 93.3 percent passed their national board exams on the first attempt. The UMKC School of Pharmacy includes campuses in Kansas City, Columbia and Springfield that educate future pharmacists in all parts of Missouri and surrounding states. These campuses are innovative partnerships with the University of Missouri-Columbia and Missouri State University that help minimize administrative and facility expenses.

In other actions, the Board approved the precision health construction project that will build a blended research and innovation facility on the southeast corner of the MU campus that will serve as the hub of a statewide initiative involving all four universities. The project will focus on discovering new treatments for illnesses such as cancer, stroke, diabetes and Alzheimer’s, among a host of other conditions. 

The building is projected to cost more than $220 million and will enable researchers and clinicians to collaborate using the most advanced technologies and data analysis tools. This “bench-to-bedside” model will accelerate the development of novel diagnostic tools and treatments and allow for fast-tracking of proven medical strategies to clinical settings. The project has previously been identified as the Board of Curator’s highest capital priority. The Missouri Legislature recently designated $10 million for the project, which has been forwarded to the Governor for approval.

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