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U. of Missouri curators approve tuition increase

The dome of Jesse Hall at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Mo. (via Flickr/jennlynndesign)

Updated at 3:08 p.m. Jan. 28, 2011 with comment from Erdman and Krawitz.

Reporting from KBIA's Courtney Flatt also used in this report.

Krawitz says 20 percent of the revenue generated form the tuition increase will be put into financial aid.

Tuition at the four University of Missouri campuses will increase for the first time in two years after a vote by the systems' Board of Curators.

Curators voted 5-3 Friday in favor of a 5.5 percent average increase for in-state undergraduates. They rejected an alternative offered by curator Don Downing to cap the increase at 5 percent.

The increase must still be approved by the state Department of Higher Education because it exceeds a legislative requirement that such hikes be capped at the federal government's annual inflation rate, which most recently was 1.5 percent.

The proposed hikes vary from 4.7 percent at the St. Louis campus to 6.6 percent at Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla.

Board chairman Warren Erdman says the fee increase is reasonable:

“In the context of the fact that we have had no tuition increase in three years , and in light of the fact that we’re facing a 7 percent reduction, potentially in state funding, as was in the Governor’s State of the State Address, on top of a 5 percent reduction from last year.”

Nikki Krawitz is UM vice president for finance and administration. She says enrollment has increased by 17,000 students over the past decade. And as state funding has decreased, a large demand has been placed on the UM budget. She quoted several trends in higher education pricing – including a decrease in state appropriations for higher education over the past decade:

“In Fiscal Year 2010, which would have been last year, the appropriations per student nationally averaged 19 percent lower than a decade earlier when adjusted for inflation. And at the University of Missouri, ours is 28 percent lower not adjusting for inflation.”

Krawitz says 20 percent of the revenue generated form the tuition increase will be put into financial aid.

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