COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
The University of Missouri System's chief financial officer told curators says a 5% tuition increase is needed to increase course offerings and research and to recruit and keep high-quality faculty.
The UM System Board of Curators heard information about the proposed tuition increase during a meeting Thursday. A vote is expected when curators meet in May.
In meeting documents, Ryan Rapp, the vice president for finance and chief financial officer at the UM System, says the tuition increase is necessary to support success and academic excellence. The proposal to increase tuition by between 2% and 5% on the system's four campuses also requires the state legislature to relax limits on how much public universities can increase tuition. That limit is currently tied to inflation.
The tuition changes, if approved, would go into effect in the fall.
Rapp said holding tuition at or below inflation is no longer sustainable and that increases of 2-3% over inflation are necessary.
Documents show the UM System lost 400 tenured faculty positions over the last two decades. The student-to-tenured-faculty ratio went from 23:1 to 37:1. Documents also show while graduation rates are improving, Missouri students are leaving for institutions with more resources.
Rapp said the Columbia campus could raise what students pay by up to 9.1% but will only increase tuition by 5% under the plan. Pricing needs to stay in line with other public research universities, Rapp says.
Meeting documents suggest a 5% tuition hike will allow MU to increase the number of course sections, increase scholarships, renovate classrooms and laboratories and increase research to attract better faculty and grow the economy.
The plan calls for UMKC to increase tuition by 4.1%, Missouri S&T by 3.4%, and UMSL by 2%.
Christian Basi, a spokesman for MU, said the increased tuition will help MU to hire more faculty, more advisors, and will help students graduate faster. The increased tuition will also help to provide more resources and start ups so the university and students can be successful, leaders said.
"The tuition increase will add to the resources that we have to support the students and help them graduate faster," Basi said.
With the pandemic continuing to affect many lives, MU students had some concerns about tuition being raised another 5%.
Ellie Miguel, a student at MU had questions for the university wondering where the money will be going and why now?
"My question to the school is where is this money going, if I'm still doing half of my school online why do I need to pay more?" Miguel said.
The system is set to receive more than $270,000 in federal stimulus money in 2021 and 2022, which curators say has been a significant help during the pandemic.