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University of Missouri curators increase tuition prices: 'We have to make hard decisions'

The six independently standing columns in front of Jesse Hall serve as a major landmark at the University of Missouri. Credit: Sara Shahriari / KBIA
Sara Shahriari/ KBIA
The six independently standing columns in front of Jesse Hall serve as a major landmark at the University of Missouri. Credit: Sara Shahriari / KBIA

At all four University of Missouri System campuses, tuition will increase 5% for undergraduate students and between 3-5% for graduate and professional students.

The University of Missouri System is raising undergraduate tuition at all four of its universities by five percent. The change will go into effect for the upcoming 2024-25 academic year, according to a news release.

The decision came at a UM System Board of Curators meeting Thursday where system president Mun Choi and the chancellors of UMKC and Missouri S&T presented the increase alongside the Board.

According to the Board of Curators, the increase is in line with inflation. Ryan Rapp is the chief financial officer for the University of Missouri and said the MU activities and athletic fees are still lower than average compared to other universities in the SEC.

“We’re about $150 per year lower than the SEC average," Rapp said. "Some of that is driven by some of the SEC schools have an athletics fee, or they just have higher activity fees to support some of those services.” 

The tuition increase applies to both resident and non-resident undergraduate students.

Each university is also recommending a five percent tuition increase for graduate students, except for S&T – which is only recommending a three percent increase for graduate students to remain price competitive.

The approval vote happened during a meeting of the curators' finance committee Thursday morning.

“We are proud to support student success by providing a world-class education at an exceptional value,” President Mun Choi said in the news release. “The tuition increase will ensure that we keep delivering results that change lives and support the economic development in Missouri.”

The new tuition rates apply to both current and incoming students.
UM System
The new tuition rates apply to both current and incoming students.

The release said the cost per degree at the university had fallen 11% over the past five years when compared with inflation. It also said the cost of education at UM schools is lower than the national average.

According to the release, the tuition increases will continue to fund things like more faculty and advisors, new classrooms and laboratories and new research opportunities, among others.

University spokesperson Christian Basi said the UM System reviews tuition rates annually. Discussions about a rate increase take months, Basi said. Several factors led the board to approve a rate increase, with inflation as a driving factor. How much revenue it earns from the state and individual donations also play a role.

Basi said the UM System understands the financial burden it is asking of students and families moving forward. But he said the university has to be able to keep up with rising costs to provide a quality education

"Like any large organization, we have to make hard decisions," Basi said. "And so we look and go, okay we want to maintain this (quality). What is the cost to maintain that in the coming year, and how do we make sure that if we do have an increase, that we increase as little as possible."

Basi encouraged families to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to be eligible for state and federal aid. That determines what financial aid, including scholarships, students might be eligible for.

Families can also call Student Financial Aid office for help in applying to grants and scholarships, Basi said. The rate hike applies to both incoming and current students. A student's major helps determine how much they pay in tuition.

Undergraduates at the university in Columbia might see an increase from anywhere between $23.40 a semester for out-of-state students taking less than 12 credit hours during the summer — to a $920 increase for out-of-state students taking between 12 and 18 credit hours in the fall or spring.

Copyright 2024 KBIA

Katelynn McIlwain, originally from Freeport, Illinois (go Pretzels!), is the managing editor for KBIA. She assists KBIA newsroom leaders in planning, supervising and producing news programming for radio broadcast, including daily news and in-depth reports, as well as public affairs programming.
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