The University of Missouri Board of Curators has approved a tuition increase for the next academic year starting in the fall.

Image courtesy of the University of Missouri system

The board approved a 2.1 percent increase but says it’ll only hike tuition 1 percent as part of an agreement with state lawmakers who did not cut the university’s budget.

Earlier this month, budget planners in both the state House and Senate agreed to reinstate $68 million that Governor Greitens had cut in his proposal for the Department of Higher Education.  The arrangement keeps funding for colleges and universities equal to its current level.

The plan, which first emerged from the House, restricted the institutions from raising tuition more 1 percent in exchange for the restored funding.  The curators noted in a statement that their approval of a 2.1 percent increase equaled the amount allowed under current state law.  Right now, tuition hikes are capped at the rate of inflation.

The arrangement negotiated by Republican House Budget Committee Chairman Scott Fitzpatrick of Shell Knob allows the institutions to enact a 2.1 percent hike if a revenue shortfall reduced higher education funding.

A bill passed by the legislature last Friday would allow institutions that lose funding in the previous year to hike rates up to 5 percent.  The measure’s been sent to the governor’s office for signature.

The Board of Curators decision affects tuition at four schools – the flagship University of Missouri in Columbia as well as branches in St. Louis and Kansas City and Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla.

David Steelman, who chairs the Board of Curators is thankful state lawmakers were able to avoid higher education budget cuts.

“We’re extremely appreciative of efforts of our legislators,” said Steelman. “They worked diligently and did not cut our revenue despite a variety of budget pressures facing the state. Through the combination of our campus leaders and the legislators, we are able to keep tuition at four of the state’s premier universities very low.”

Ryan Rapp, UM Vice President for Finance said the university system goes to great lengths to keep costs for students in check.  “The University of Missouri has had one of the lowest rates of tuition increase in the U.S. during the past decade,” said Rapp.

UM System President Mun Choi said the schools are helping to offset the tuition hike through other costs saving efforts for students.

“Even with this increase, our campuses have reduced other costs so that the overall cost to students remains low,” Choi said.  “Through cost-saving measures, such as our textbook affordability initiative and increases in need and merit-based scholarships, many students will see their total cost of attendance decline.”

The University of Missouri-Columbia has reduced the cost of its most common housing and dining plans which it says will allow students to live and eat on campus for approximately $1,000 per month.

State lawmakers opted to fund four higher education cooperative agreements at 60% of what the department asked for.  Among those programs are the University of Missouri Coop Medical School expansion at its Springfield clinic and the University of Missouri-Kansas City and Missouri Southern State University Coop Dental Program.