More than 70,000 Missouri college students will feel the effects of a decision made by the Missouri Board of Curators Monday.


More than 70,000 Missouri college students will feel the effects of a decision made by the Missouri Board of Curators Monday.

The board chose to minimize in-state undergraduate tuition increases, deciding the budget gaps will be balanced through cuts.

In-state undergraduate tuition will go up 3 percent beginning this summer while tuition for out of state and graduate students will go up between 3 percent and 8.5 percent depending on the campus.
The message from University of Missouri President Tim Wolfe was clear.

“We need help,” Wolfe said. “We need resources.”

One month ago, the board was faced with the announcement of a 12 percent cut in state funding in higher education during Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon’s State of the State address.

Nixon issued a press release Feb. 7 announcing his intent to put $40 million of a settlement between the state and mortgage lenders into higher education throughout the state.

According to the Associated Press, $18 million of that is to be directed to the University of Missouri System, which includes Missouri S&T as well as campuses in Columbia, St. Louis and Kansas City.

The tuition plan approved by curators Monday is based on the assumption that the governor’s proposition to allot that money to the university will be approved by state legislature.

“In the event that this doesn’t happen, I guess we would have to take a second look at this,” District Five Board of Curators Member Warren Erdman said. “That money isn’t certain.”

What is certain is that cuts will have to be made, no matter what happens in the legislature.
“We still have a $47 million budget gap that we are going to be working on with staff to try and bring about some equilibrium,” Board of Curators Chairman David R. Bradley said, “so there will be some difficult choices ahead of us.”

According to University of Missouri System Vice President for Finance and Administration Nikki Krawitz, those choices may include the loss of between 200 and 240 jobs throughout the system and loss of academic programs, auxillary programs or research programs.

Krawitz said approximately one-third of those jobs are currently filled.
Wolfe told the board cuts are necessary.

“We can’t continue to do the same with fewer people,” he said. “It is going to effect quality. It is going to effect morale.”

Neither Wolfe, Krawitz nor the board were able to give any specifics regarding the cuts, as each campus has been tasked with creating a plan tailored to that campus.

At Missouri S&T that plan will be shaped by many people, but Communications Director Andrew Careaga said three individuals will play key roles  — Interim Chancellor Dr. Warren K. Wray, Vice President of Administration Steve Malott and Vice Provost of Academic Affairs Robert Schwartz.

Wolfe has given each campus a set of three guidelines to consider when making the cuts.
Wolfe says the first guideline — “to continue to maintain and enhance the quality of the student academic experience” —  is a priority.

The second guideline is to keep any budget decisions in line with established long-term vision for the university, and the third is to make decisions based on what can be done well with available resources.

According to Wolfe, that means admitting what can no longer be supported by the budget.
Apparently, it also means larger increases for graduate students, out-of-state students and students of special programs.

Missouri S&T students will see the highest of these increases. Nonresident undergraduate students and all graduate students at that campus will see an 8.5 percent increase.

“Out-of-state per credit (hour) is already $400 more (than in-state), so it’s a lot anyways, and if it is increased more I really don’t feel like that is fair,” Missouri S&T undergraduate student Chloe Howenstein said.

Howenspein is a Sophomore from Illinois, and she said she would feel better about the increase if it was not coupled with cuts.

The potential for cuts in research hit home for Howenstein who is on the university’s solar house team. The solar house team runs primarily on donations but also benefits from funds disbursed through the university’s student design center.

On other campuses, the University of Missouri - St. Louis will see increases of 8.2 percent for out-of-state and graduate students, while MU will be seeing an increase of 7.5 percent for out-of-state undergraduate students and maintaining the three percent increase for all graduate students.

The Kansas City campus is the only one of the four campuses that nearly all students will share the same three percent increase.

The only students to see larger increases on that campus will be the UMKC School of Law where tuition will increase by five percent.

UMKC School of Medicine is the only school within the system to see no increase in tuition.