The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

February 11, 2013

Tuition increase proposed for fall at MSSU

By Emily Younker

JOPLIN, Mo. — A 2.2 percent tuition increase at Missouri Southern State University is proposed to take effect in the fall.

Administrators on Monday recommended the increase — $3.72 per credit hour for in-state tuition, for a total cost per credit hour of $173.20 — to the Board of Governors’ budget committee. In-state tuition is currently $169.48 per credit hour.

The proposal, which was approved unanimously by committee members, will be considered by the full board on Friday.

Rob Yust, vice president for business affairs, said that based on current enrollment, the tuition increase would generate about $350,000 in new revenue for fiscal year 2014, which begins July 1.

Treasurer Linda Eis said the increase is tied by state law to the Consumer Price Index, which rose 1.7 percent in 2012, according to university data. She said the proposed increase is slightly higher because tuition at MSSU — just over $5,000, based on 30 credit hours per year — is less than the average cost of tuition statewide, which is more than $6,500.

Also recommended by administrators is an increase of $7.44 per credit hour for out-of-state tuition, bringing that total to $346.40 per credit hour.

Last year, the board raised tuition by nearly 4 percent, or $6.48 per credit hour.

In other business, Yust told the committee that MSSU will receive an additional $225,663 from the state before the fiscal year ends on June 30. That amount, about 1 percent of MSSU’s allotment this year from the state, comes from Gov. Jay Nixon’s release last week of previous withholdings in the state budget from higher education institutions.

MSSU President Bruce Speck said institutions belonging to the state Council on Public Higher Education, including MSSU, have agreed to spend the money in areas that Nixon has recommended: enhancing financial aid; expanding science, technology, engineering, mathematics and health care programs; increasing the number of blended courses; or supporting Innovation Campus initiatives.

“We’re trying to be team players with the governor and trying to spend the money on areas” he has suggested, Speck said.

Pat Lipira, interim vice president for academic affairs, said MSSU already is involved in several of those areas. Last fall, for example, MSSU along with Crowder College, Franklin Technology Center and the Joplin School District received about $1 million in an Innovation Campus grant that allows participating Joplin students to take college-level courses during high school.

“We are heavily engaged in the governor’s initiatives,” Lipira said, “so I feel like they know we have made a commitment to things they want us to keep making a commitment to.”

Yust said administrators have not yet determined exactly how the additional revenue will be spent.

Time, place

THE BOARD OF GOVERNORS at Missouri Southern State University will meet at 1 p.m. Friday in Room 310 of Billingsly Student Center.