The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

February 24, 2014

Our View: MSSU makes right call

Southern plays to its strength

We applaud Missouri Southern State University for holding the line on college costs. Members of the board of governors agreed Friday not to raise tuition for in-state eligible undergraduates for the 2014-15 academic year, which begins this fall.

Southern’s greatest selling point has always been that it offers a great education at low cost, relative to other colleges in Missouri and around the country.

Setting aside for a minute some of the other benefits to attending Southern, ranging from an international emphasis to great athletics, the university’s success will depend on its ability to maintain that balance of low cost and top-flight education.

All tuition decisions also should keep in mind the biggest economic reality in the region: Wages in Southwest Missouri are well below the national average, and what Southern is doing is keeping the door open for many of those families.

We also know that many economists have predicted the next great debt crisis — one that could rival the housing crisis in its implications — is student loan debt.

While we’re at it, let’s give a shout out to Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon and state legislators, who are pushing an increase in state funding for Missouri’s public four-year institutions if those institutions will agree to a tuition freeze.

The boards of the four-campus University of Missouri System as well as the University of Central Missouri have agreed.

Political and education leaders have demonstrated they are putting students first.

It’s the right call.

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