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Officials examining better tuition model to help families better predict college costs
COLUMBIA, Mo. – Today, the University of Missouri Board of Curators voted to raise tuition at UM universities approximately 2.3%, or the amount of inflation. With steady enrollment, the change would generate approximately $14.8 million for the UM System’s four universities.
“With this small increase, the UM universities remain among the lowest in tuition increases throughout the country,” said Mun Choi, UM system president and interim MU chancellor. “These increases do not fill the gaps in revenue the university has experienced, but they will help us maintain our commitment to teaching excellence. We are focused on achieving our missions of teaching, research, service and economic development while reducing our costs.”
Additionally, over the next several months, UM officials will explore possible changes in the tuition model beyond 2020 that would provide students and parents with a simpler, more predictable bill with fewer fees and a faster path to completion.
“Our goal is to make the way we charge tuition and fees simpler for our students and parents to understand, while improving retention and time to completion,” said Ryan Rapp, vice president for finance at the UM System. “We want to make it easy for families to predict the financial commitment they must bear when students attend one of our universities. We will be developing a proposal for simplified differential fees and plateau tuition over the next academic year and looking for feedback from our community.”
The tuition increase and potential changes to the tuition model come as the university is facing significant financial pressure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, the University of Missouri System has been subject to withholdings of $52 million in state revenue. UM System universities have also provided more than $30 million in refunds to students, including refunds for room and board costs when the universities went to remote learning in March.
“We’ve not experienced the type of financial crisis in the modern history of the university,” Choi said. “Unfortunately, we continue to have to make hard decisions that have impacted our employees at every level of the university. The budgets that were approved today will preserve financial sustainability in the short term. But to do better, we’ll have to make structural changes for the future.”
Over the past five years, the UM System has reduced office and administration employees by more than 560 while growing instructional support and health-related employees by 300 individuals. Overall, in the past five years, the university has reduced it’s full-time workforce by approximately 440 positions.