In a response to a more than decade-long trend of decreasing state appropriations, the Missouri Southern State University Board of Governors today moved to approve a much-needed tuition increase for undergraduate, graduate and distance learning students.
“We’ve known for a long time that we would need to take this step to increase tuition revenue,” said Mitch McCumber, chairman of the MSSU Board of Governors. “A quality, affordable education is always in the forefront of everyone’s mind. At this time, the tuition increase is needed to move the university forward.”
Dr. Alan Marble, president of the university, said that while Missouri’s general revenue has continued to rise over the last several years, appropriations for higher education have fallen dramatically. At Missouri Southern, net state appropriations have fallen from nearly $26 million in 2010 to just over $22 million in 2018.
“The cuts are always painful, and they’ve come at a time when we have seen dramatic increases in enrollment as well as compounded academic and facility needs,” said Marble. “This tuition increase is a result of multiple years of underfunding, and while we understand and appreciate the need to remain affordable for students, we have an obligation to keep the university viable and strong.”
After passing an $800,000 deficit budget in FY18 despite making a significant number of program and position cuts, Missouri Southern’s financial need has been acknowledged by other Missouri colleges and universities, as well as legislators.
Last month, Missouri Southern was exempted from a “tuition cap” deal reached between the Missouri House and COPHE (Council for Public Higher Education) that would restore $68 million in cuts suggested by the governor, because MSSU has the lowest total funding per full-time student of any public university in the state.
The new tuition rates (per credit hour) will be:
· In-state undergraduate tuition – $232.24
· Out-of-state undergraduate tuition – $464.48
· Graduate tuition – $350
· Distance Learning tuition – $270.70
The tuition rate for Dual Credit students (high-school students taking college courses), will remain unchanged at $50 per credit hour.
The increased tuition revenue, Marble said, will be used to:
· Cover the budget deficit carried over from FY 2018.
· Address the backlog of deferred maintenance needs on campus.
· Strengthen key academic programs with new accreditations.
· Fill the $25 million financial loss that has developed over the last decade due to decreased state appropriations.
Last fall, the university rolled student fees – which covered parking, activities, the recreation center, health center and technology – into the cost of tuition, a move that will simplify Fall 2018 tuition bills.
“Even with this unavoidable tuition increase, Missouri Southern remains the most affordable public university in the state, as well as the region,” said Marble. “We intend to remain the premiere provider of quality programs that serve the needs of our students.”