The Board of Governors of Missouri Southern State University approved an operating expense budget of $76.4 million at the group’s meeting today on the MSSU campus.

Board members were informed that State appropriations for the fiscal year will increase by approximately $550,000.

Tuition rates will increase 2 percent for the upcoming academic year. The tuition rate at Missouri Southern will be $173.20 for the Lion Pride Tuition area, which includes all of Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and several counties in Illinois. The tuition rate will be $346.40 for out-of-state students.

The figure includes a 2 percent across-the-board salary increase for employees, with a minimum annual raise of $600 for full-time employees and a $300 minimum annual increase for part-time employees

The budget figure approved today includes funding for student-focused initiatives by the Noel-Levitz consulting firm. Capital projects for the year will include the Lion Icon Plaza, which will be financed by funds provided by Bill and Tracy Gipson of Joplin and the Missouri Southern Student Senate, as well as a Walking Trail, which is being constructed in collaboration with the City of Joplin.

The Board of Governors endorsed the issuance of $13-$15 million in new bonds for the construction and renovation of Residence Life facilities. In addition, the University will refinance eligible existing bonds to take advantage of favorable bond interest rates.

Also today the board approved promotions and tenure for eligible faculty members.