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Missouri tuition hike "almost inevitable," but could increase prestige

The columns and Jesse Hall on the flagship campus of the University of Missouri system in Columbia, Mo. The Board of Curators for the system met in Columbia today. (Flickr Creative Commons User Adam Procter)

University of Missouri leaders met by teleconference today to discuss tuition and fee increases across the four-campus system.

Curators looked at figures and possible scenarios prepared by the UM vice president Nikke Krawitz.

A 10 percent increase in tuition - the highest increase scenario on the table - would contribute about $44 million to the coffers.

That doesn't even come close, Krawitz says, to meeting an estimated $64 million gap.

But what's the bottom line for Krawitz?

She says the university is educating 28 percent more students, with 28 percent fewer state dollars over the same time period. Krawitz says the reductions have come - quote - "on the backs of university faculty and staff."

Speaking from Kansas City today, Curator Warren Erdman called a tuition increase "almost inevitable."

"In light of the near certainty that we will receive a very significant cut in state funding, it is almost inevitable that we will have to consider a catch-up increase in our tuition," Erdman said.

The need for a tuition increase isn't all bad, according to this report from the Associated Press:

[University of Missouri leaders] also expect it would increase out-of-state enrollment and boost the university's prestige among students and parents outside Missouri.

University leaders largely blame a reduction in state funding for the revenue gap. But no decision about tuition has been made yet - university administrators are expected to approve a tuition increase at their board meeting January 27th and 28th in Kansas City.

Janet Saidi from KBIA also provided reporting for this story.

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