Students at Missouri Southern State University will see their tuition go up about 9.3% next year.
The university's Board of Governors on Thursday set the 2019-20 tuition rates, with the increase to affect primarily undergraduate students and online students.
Tuition for undergraduate in-state students and those from the Lion Pride discount program will increase by $20.72 per credit hour, to a total of $242.96 per credit hour. That's up from the current rate of $222.24 per credit hour. A student taking 15 credit hours per semester will spend $3,644.40.
That increase, according to the panel, is a combination of three components:
• A carryover of $10 per credit hour from the 2018-19 academic year, when Missouri Southern initially approved a tuition increase of $30 per credit hour. Faced with a financial penalty from the Missouri Department of Higher Education for having increased tuition higher than the rate allowed by state law, the university negotiated with the commissioner of higher education to charge students only $20 of the $30 increase that year in order to avoid paying the penalty. The remaining $10 will take effect next year.
• The amount that the university is allowed by law to raise tuition based on the Consumer Price Index. That works out to about $4.57 per credit hour.
• The amount that the university, under a new state law, is allowed to raise tuition per year to account for funding losses in prior years. That works out to about $6.16 per credit hour.
The rate also includes student fees for technology, activities, parking, health and the recreation center. The board in October 2017 had rolled tuition and required student fees into one lump sum.
Sarah Schultz, a senior business major from Riverton, Kansas, and president of the student senate, said she understands why the board raised tuition rates for next year.
"No one wants to pay more, but I understand that in order to keep operating and keep things moving, sometimes you have to make those decisions," she said. "It's still way more affordable than any other school I could have gone to."
Undergraduate out-of-state tuition will increase by $41.44 per credit hour, to a total of $485.92 per credit hour. The distance learning tuition rate will increase by $25.18 per credit hour, to a total of $295.88 per credit hour.
The graduate tuition rate will remain unchanged at $350 per credit hour, and the dual-credit tuition rate will remain unchanged at $50 per credit hour.
In other business Thursday, the governing board approved a budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year, which begins July 1. The budget:
• Anticipates total revenues of $84.87 million and total expenditures of $84.2 million, virtually unchanged from the prior year.
• Includes approximately $28.1 million in net tuition revenues and $25 million in state appropriations. The latter figure consists of roughly $23.3 million in core appropriations and a one-time allocation of $1.8 million that was designated for Missouri Southern this year by lawmakers for STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs.
• About $31.98 million in salaries and wages, plus another $11.25 million in health care premium payments and other employee benefits, such as contributions to the Missouri State Employees' Retirement System.
After several years in which higher education in Missouri was targeted for withholdings and cuts by state leadership, MSSU officials seemed comfortable with the budget proposed for next year.
"We did receive some new money, so that's a good start," President Alan Marble said.