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UM Board of Curators approves tuition increase, remains focused on student affordability

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Christian Basi

May 21, 2018

Board approved a 2.1 percent increase but will only charge students 1 percent for next academic year

COLUMBIA, Mo. — The University of Missouri Board of Curators today approved a tuition increase for the 2018-19 academic year. While the board approved a 2.1 percent increase, the university will only charge students a 1 percent increase following an agreement with state legislators who did not cut the university’s budget.

“We are very aware of the financial burden that students and their families face, and our chancellors and their administrative teams have been working exceptionally hard to keep our tuition low over the past several years,” said David Steelman, chair of the Board of Curators. “We’re also extremely appreciative of efforts of our legislators. They worked diligently and did not cut our revenue despite a variety of budget pressures facing the state. Through the combination of our campus leaders and the legislators, we are able to keep tuition at four of the state’s premier universities very low.”

The curators approved a request to raise tuition by 2.1 percent, the amount allowed under current state law. However, under an agreement reached with the state, the campuses will only charge 1 percent more in exchange for protecting the university’s state appropriation. The budget bill that recently passed the legislature called for the core funding to remain at last year’s levels while also providing some funding for additional projects such as the Springfield medical campus and the joint pharmacy program.

“Together with the state legislators and our campus leaders, we are keeping higher education in Missouri very affordable,” UM System President Mun Choi said. “Even with this increase, our campuses have reduced other costs so that the overall cost to students remains low. Through cost-saving measures, such as our textbook affordability initiative and increases in need and merit-based scholarships, many students will see their total cost of attendance decline.”

During the past year, the UM System and each of its four campuses have introduced several affordability initiatives:

  • Missouri S&T professors embraced a textbook initiative encouraging Open Educational Resources in classes. For example, Associate Professor Cesar Mendoza switched textbooks in his Civil Engineering 3330 class from a book that cost $145 to another text that cost $35, saving students a total of about $23,000 annually.
  • University of Missouri-Columbia officials reduced the cost of MU’s most common housing and dining plans. This reduction allows students who elect economy living and dining plans the ability to live and eat on campus for approximately $1,000 per month.
  • The University of Missouri-Kansas City has partnered with KC Scholars to make college accessible to students in the Kansas City region through a new scholarship and college savings program launched in 2016. KC Scholars will provide the means—through scholarships, financial incentives and support services—for low- and modest-income students and adults to pursue a postsecondary credit-bearing credential or degree. Funding opportunities are available for traditional students and adult learners.
  • The University of Missouri-St. Louis increased its UMSL Grant by 25 percent to $2,000 for incoming Pell Grant eligible students for Fiscal Year 2018. The grant is an annual award for Pell Grant eligible students who maintain a 2.5 GPA. UMSL also has increased its Diversity Scholarships budget by $100,000 for Fiscal Year 2019.

“The University of Missouri has had one of the lowest rates of tuition increase in the U.S. during the past decade,” said Ryan Rapp, UM vice president for finance. “Every dollar we save, we put back toward our educational mission. Keeping tuition low is a key factor to achieving our mission of providing a high-quality, affordable education.”

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