By STEVEN SPEARS
(WARRENSBURG, Mo., digitalBURG.com) — University students will pay a little more to go to UCM next year.
The UCM Board of Governors unanimously approved a 0.7 percent tuition increase for in-state, undergraduate students, a 3.8 percent increase for meal plans, and a 2 percent increase in university residence halls and apartment rates during a meeting Friday, March 17. The mid-year rate increases will not affect summer enrollment but will be implemented fall 2017.
The 3.8 percent meal plan increase includes a 1.5 percent allowance for capital improvements and covering a 2.3 percent increase in the Food Away from Home CPI index, according to a proposal presented at the board meeting.
The increase in tuition rates was prompted by recent state budget cuts, according to board information.
Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens announced in January a $146.4 million reduction in state funding for institutions of higher education in the current fiscal year, followed by a state budget proposal for fiscal year 2018, which makes more than $572 million in reductions. UCM will receive $5.36 million less in state appropriations next fiscal year, according to a Missouri Department of Higher Education financial summary. This marks a 9 percent year-to-year decrease in core funds for the university. The previous cut resulted in UCM receiving $4.1 million less in state funding for the current fiscal year.
“Certainly there’s been a considerable amount of discussion about tuition rates, particularly in light of the projected reduction in our state appropriation,” said Susan Brockhaus, executive director of UCM Administrative Services. “And I think you’ll find that several of the other state institutions have enacted this mid-year increase as well.”
The tuition increase raises the price of an in-state, undergraduate credit hour by $1.63 to $216.48. Out of state and graduate rates are not affected.
Brockhaus said although UCM initially held tuition rates steady at the FY 2016 level, the university was authorized to increase in-state, undergraduate rates 0.7 percent without a waiver from the state. She said the 0.7 percent increase is the maximum allowable by the Higher Education Student Funding Act, which is based on the rate of inflation.
The UCM administration still has the option to increase FY 2018 tuition 2.1 percent to keep up with the rate of inflation.
“We will be considering at the April plenary session a possible increase to our rate for fiscal year 18,” Brockhaus said.
The university’s room and board rates were increased to offset rising personnel costs, including health insurance, utilities and property insurance, according to a proposal.
Students will now pay $2,697 for double occupancy rooms, $3,297 for single occupancy, and $1,571 for first-year and sophomore meal plans each semester. Additionally, the monthly rates for on-campus apartments have gone up to meet the 2 percent increase.
The university is expected to release more information about the FY 2018 budget during the April 27-28 board of governors meeting.