The University of Missouri System Board of Curators on Wednesday will consider a 5 percent tuition increase, its largest in several years.
Undergraduate resident tuition rates have increased by 1.2 percent per year on average over the past five years, while the rate of inflation has increased by an average of 1.5 percent over the same period, according to agenda documents.
The increase in undergraduate resident tuition for the 2018-19 school year was 1 percent. The proposed increase represents inflation for the last two years plus 2 percent, equaling the proposed 5 percent tuition hike.
In the proposed action, resident undergraduate rates would be assessed at an increased rate of 5.6 percent, but UM President Mun Choi would use his authority to waive part of that, so students would pay an increased rate of 5 percent. But Choi may withdraw the waiver and require the 5.6 percent increase if state funding is not at least $403.8 million.
The agenda document notes that the maximum allowable increase under state law is 6.7 percent, while resident undergraduate students would experience a 5 percent increase. Tuition increases by law "shall not exceed the percentage change of the consumer price index plus a percentage of not more than 5 percent that would produce an increase in net tuition revenue no greater than the dollar amount by which the state operating support was reduced for the prior fiscal year, if applicable."
The MU Student Financial Aid website lists an annual undergraduate resident tuition of $11,252 for the current school year, assuming the student takes 14 credit hours per semester. A 5 percent increase would result in an annual cost of $11,814.60.
MU spokesman Christian Basi said the university used inflation numbers from the Missouri Department of Higher Education. Because the curators didn’t use the full amount of the inflation increase for the previous fiscal year, it is using a 2.9 percent increase to account for inflation. He said the state reduced its allocation by $9.4 million from 2017-18 to 2018-19. The MDHE calculated bthat the UM System could increase tuition by as much as 6.7 percent because of that reduction.
"We don’t need all of that," Basi said. "We’re very focused on affordability."
The reason a higher tuition increase isn’t needed is because of the generosity of the state in its budget, Basi said.
"The most important thing is that the university has the ability under the law to raise tuition by as much as 6.7 percent," Basi said. "We have been very concerned with affordability and we’re only asking for the tuition increase that is absolutely necessary."
Curators also will consider project approval of the Translational Precision Medicine Complex. The project will receive a minimum of $100 million from university unrestricted funding, $121 million in long-term debt financing, up to $10 million from the state, up to $100 million from private donations and up to $12.3 million from the Veterans Affairs Department. If the university receives more private donations, the amount of debt financing could decrease. Opening is planned for October 2021.
The meeting is at 1 p.m. Wednesday in the Telepresence Center in Ellis Library.