by Aimee Levitt
The University of Missouri Board of Curators will meet this Friday, April 16, to discuss, among other things, whether there will be a freeze on in-state tuition for the 2010-2011 school year.
It's a subject of intense interest at the moment because even though Governor Jay Nixon vowed last November that there would be no tuition increase, the Missouri legislature last week tentatively agreed to cut the state's education budget by 5 percent, or $50 million. The state budget should be finalized by May 7, the end of the legislative session.
Mary Jo Banken, executive director of the MU News Bureau, tells Daily RFT that at Friday's meeting, the Board of Curators will vote on a proposed budget that calls for no tuition increase. The university already has a good idea of how many students will be attending in the fall.
"Our budget will start in the summer of 2010," she adds. "We need to notify the students. If for some reason the tuition freeze bill is negated, we'll go back to the Board of Curators and ask for an increase in tuition."
In-state undergraduate tuition at Mizzou for 2009-2010 was $8,500. There was no increase from 2008-2009.
Chancellor Brady Deaton told the Maneater, the Mizzou student paper, that if the university does have to increase tuition, it will be by no more than 2.1 percent.
Southern Illinois University already has an undergraduate tuition freeze in place for next year. Instead, it plans to raise fees.
Reports the Belleville News-Democrat:
In addition, a slate of fee increases was proposed ranging from 3 percent to 7 percent. Among them: athletic fees would go up $10 to $156.20, information technology fees would go up 10 cents to $6.55 per credit hour, and welfare/activity fees would go up $6.05 per semester to $107.25.
Banken isn't sure whether Mizzou will also raise its fees. "Fees vary from year to year," she explains. "They're based on insurance premiums -- they cover student insurance, computing, student health. The colleges and schools each have supporting fees, but they did not increase last year with the tuition freeze."
(College and school fees vary, but usually come out to between $500 and $600 per semester, based on a schedule of 14 credit hours.)
Banken also isn't sure when the university will be able to set firm tuition rates. "I've been here 22 years," she says. "It varies from year to year, but sometimes the legislature doesn't finish in time and we've had to wait [to set tuition] as late as June. It makes it really difficult. We need to get the word out to students."