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Board of Curators meets at UMKC: Tuition to increase, UMKC sets 20,000-student goal for 2020

Students at University of Missouri schools have come to expect this news: Tuition is going up, again.

The proposed increase of 1.7 percent may not thrill students, but UMKC will continue to have the lowest tuition of any UM school.

The decision to raise tuition was made unanimously last week by the UM System Board of Curators.

Representatives from the four campuses met last Thursday and Friday at UMKC for their first 2013 meeting.

Per Missouri law, tuition increases must match the national Consumer Price Index unless special permission is granted.

Tuition for the 2014 academic year, which begins summer 2013, will increase 1.7 percent across the board for UMKC undergraduate and graduate students.

This includes both in-state and out-of-state residents. Tuition increases for students enrolled in UMKC’s professional schools will vary by program, from no increase to 3 percent.

Tuition at UM schools has increased an average of 2.3 percent per year over the past five years.

“Our below-average tuition compared to similar institutions—combined with our high-quality education, ground-breaking research and service to the state—set us apart as the No. 1 provider of higher education in the state,” said Wayne Goode, Board of Curators Chair.

Timothy Wolfe, University of Missouri President, noted that tuition at comparable universities in surrounding states has increased an average of 6 percent.

He said the University of Missouri schools provide a good value and that the moderate tuition increases ensure a UM System education is “within reach for any student who desires one.”

All schools UM schools face different supplemental increases beyond the base 1.7 percent.

Missouri Science & Technology and University of Missouri-St. Louis face the largest tuition increases. The highest is a 6.7 percent increase for UMSL out-of-state undergraduates.

Tuition will increase an average of $150 per student, setting tuition at $9,076 for a student who takes 15 credit hours per semester.

The Curators passed 2 percent to 3.5 percent increases for on-campus housing and dining rates. Activity, facility, and health services fees will increase 1.7 percent as well.

UMKC supplemental fees will mostly increase at the rate of inflation. The exception are fees for Engineering and Bloch School students, who are expected to see $3 to $7 dollar increases. New fees include a $15 Public Administration Graduate fee and a $250 Student Voice fee.

The Board of Curators also agreed to provide debt financing to build student housing at the Hospital Hill campus.

Chancellor Leo Morton discussed UMKC’s goal to increase enrollment and donation fundraising..

“Our goal is to be at 20,000 [students] by 2020,” Morton said.

Morton discussed how students are attracted to particular courses.

The university is concentrating on expanding programs like the Institute for Urban Education, the Master’s in Entrepreneurial Real Estate and nursing.

Morton said that UMKC “really needs to devote a lot of our efforts to scholarships,” thus the need to focus on fundraising.

While many professionals in the Kansas City area attended UMKC, Morton noted, only about 10 percent of graduates have donated to the University.

During the Chancellors’ Panel Discussion, the curators were encouraged to attend more events and act as ambassadors for the four campuses. The chancellors agreed could help increase donations.

The Curators also decided to send a proposal for a UMKC “Master of Health Professions Education” program to the Missouri Department of Higher Education.

Throughout the meetings, Wolfe and the Curators expressed thanks to Missouri Governor Jay Nixon for the 4 percent state funding increase to higher education that he proposed in his State of the State Address last week.

Michael Nichols, Vice President for Research and Economic Development for the UM System, discussed the state of the system’s research and economic development.

Nichols and Wolfe both noted that research is generally on track and progressing.

Wolfe said the four UM campuses account for 95 percent of sponsored research in Missouri.

Wolfe gave his State of the University speech on Friday at the UMKC Atterbury Student Success Center. This year marks a milestone for the UM System, Wolfe reflected, as it is the 50-year anniversary since the system was created in 1963.

During Wolfe’s speech, he reiterated the value of a University of Missouri education.

“I am disturbed by some of the growing skepticism I hear about higher education,” he said. “Some people will tell you that a college education doesn’t pay off like it used to […] The founder of PayPal has gone on the record saying, simply, ‘Too many kids go to college.’ I’m here today to tell you they are wrong. And, I’m interested in engaging in these conversations and setting the record straight.”

lgepford@unews.com

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