Update: MU curators approve tuition hike

Update: Fri. Jan. 28 at 12:15 p.m.

Tuition at the four University of Missouri campuses will increase for the first time in three years after a vote by the systems' Board of Curators.

Curators voted 5-3 Friday in favor of a 5.5% average increase for in-state undergraduates. They rejected an alternative offered by curator Don Downing to cap the increase at 5 percent.

The increase must still be approved by the state Department of Higher Education because it exceeds a legislative requirement that such hikes be capped at the federal government's annual inflation rate, which most recently was 1.5 percent.

The proposed hikes vary from 4.7 percent at the St. Louis campus to 6.6 percent at Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla. Update: Thurs. Jan. 27 at 5:26 p.m.

The University of Missouri Board of Curators decided to hire an executive search firm to find their next president Thursday. Former President Gary Forsee resigned earlier this month to care for his ill wife. The board is expected to vote Friday on the proposed tuition hikes on each campus. The average increase is 5.5%. If curators approve it, the tuition hike would begin this summer. Original Story:

Thursday morning marks the start of a busy two days worth of meetings in Columbia for the University of Missouri Board of Curators.

The curators will discuss and vote on a proposed tuition increases. The University System is recommending an average tuition increase of 5.5% for next year.

This is the first time tuition and fees on each campus will be decoupled, allowing campuses to recommend increases based on their particular needs.

Recommended increases among the University's four-campus system range from 4.7% at the University of Missouri-St. Louis to 6.6% at Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla. The Columbia campus is recommending an increase to its tuition and required fees of 5.8%, while UMKC is recommending an increase of 4.8%.

Earlier this month at his state of the state address, Governor Jay Nixon proposed a 7% cut to the MU system funding.

"We wish we could continue to hold the line on tuition and fees as we have for the past two years," said Steve Owens, interim president of the University of Missouri system. "But even with the increases we will recommend to the curators, the proposed 7 percent cut in state appropriations will leave about a $42 million shortfall for the University-and that's after we cut an additional $11.3M in efficiencies that we identified in the process of planning for next year's budget.

"State funding for this university has declined steadily over the past decade," he added, noting the university system has added 17,000 students, while state support per student has dropped 28 percent, from $10,462 to $7,510.

If curators approve the tuition hike, the increase will take effect this summer. A final vote is expected on Friday.

Also at this week's meeting, curators will consider increasing nonresident undergraduate tuition and fees, resident and nonresident graduate tuition and fees, various professional school tuition rates, as well as supplemental and other related enrollment fees.

The Board of Curators plans to discuss the search for a new University of Missouri president during its meeting Thursday and Friday in Columbia. The curators are expected to hire an executive search firm to guide the process. They're looking for a permanent replacement for Gary Forsee, who stepped down earlier this month to care for his ill wife.

Meanwhile, Governor Nixon has appointed two lawyers to the University of Missouri Board of Curators.

Nixon yesterday nominated Donald L. Cupps, of Cassville, and Craig A. Van Matre, of Columbia, to the nine-member board that oversees the four-campus university system. The appointments require Senate confirmation.

(The Associated Press contributed to the article.)Do you have kids attending or planning to attend a University of Missouri school? What do you think about the proposed increases?