The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

April 20, 2012

MSSU board approves fee increases, new fees

Panel expects to approve raises for faculty, staff next month

Missouri Southern State University students will see some new and some increased fees in the fall semester after action Friday by the MSSU Board of Governors.

Many of the fees were among the ideas offered by faculty and staff earlier this year when university officials solicited ideas for cost savings to try to avoid layoffs. University officials have announced that three faculty members with one-year contracts won’t return to work at the university in the fall semester.

Board member Rod Anderson, a member of the budget committee, said the panel also will try to give all faculty and staff a raise when the 2013 budget is submitted next month. President Bruce Speck has committed officials to submitting a balanced budget.

Among the increases scheduled to start in the fall semester is an increase in the textbook rental fee from $10 to $12 per credit hour per book. That will raise an additional $198,000.

The parking fee will increase by $3, from $15 to $18 per semester. But any increased revenue would be offset by the elimination of a $3-per-semester record fee.

The record fee is being replaced by a $50 graduation fee, which will be assessed starting with December 2013 graduates. With about 1,100 graduates per year, that is expected to raise about $55,000. That will offset part of the cost of staging the graduation ceremonies, said A.J. Anglin, vice president for academic affairs.

There also will be a $50 per semester fee for international students enrolled at MSSU, though there aren’t many international students.

The board also set the tuition rate for out-of-state students at $338.96 per credit hour, double the tuition rate for in-state students, which is $169.48 per credit hour.

The board also voted not to entertain any faculty promotions submitted next year. In March, the board voted that any faculty members who receive promotions this year will receive their additional pay phased in over three years. Those promotions are expected to be considered by the board next month.

Speck, in his remarks, also said he wants to provide raises.

“We have major challenges and the first among them, in my mind, is the crying need to reward our faculty and staff with pay increases,” he said.

Speck said university employees have gone four years without any pay increases.

“I know the board must balance a tightrope regarding budgetary issues, and I endorse the conservative approach you are taking,” he said. “I also know that you want to give raises and are poised to do so as soon as we can.”

Speck said because the state is using one-time money to reduce state cuts to higher education this year, the same thing can’t be relied upon next year or in future years.

“We should expect less money from the state in the next five years,” Speck said. He said he remained optimistic about the direction the university is headed.

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