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Education news and issues in the Ozarks.

MSU’s Governing Board Formally Approves Tuition Hikes for Springfield, West Plains

Scott Harvey
A seal for Southwest Missouri State College (name from 1945-1972), sits in front of MSU's Carrington Hall/Credit: Scott Harvey

Students attending Missouri State University on both the Springfield and West Plains’ campuses will pay more in tuition beginning this fall.

The MSU Board of Governors formally approved the changes on Wednesday. It comes as the Missouri legislature is expected to approve a 9 percent reduction in appropriations for the state’s colleges and universities, as recommended by the governor, due to a state revenue shortfall.

In Springfield, undergraduate resident tuition will increase $4 per credit hour, while in-state graduate students will pay $10 more per credit hour. Students will pay $18 and $21 more per credit hour with out-of-state undergraduate and graduate status, respectively.

MSU says the adjustment for undergraduate resident tuition is less than the rate of inflation for calendar year 2016, and keeps the university’s student fees below the national average.

“The state has a revenue gap to fill, so we expect to receive significantly less state funding in the coming fiscal year,” said President Clif Smart in a news release. “We are budgeting for a $7.4 million cut in state funding on the Springfield campus.”

For students enrolled in seven or more credit hours, they’ll pay $11 more per semester in student services fees. That does not include the student-approved Health Center Fee of $29 per semester, according to the school. Additionally, students in some colleges will pay more in fees.

The tuition hikes leave MSU with about $4 million left to cut to balance its budget. During a budget town hall last week, Smart said all but $1.2 million in cuts from the university’s academic colleges have determined.  

For students taking classes on the West Plains campus, the tuition increase is $5 credit hour for Missouri residents and $10 per credit hour for non-Missouri residents.

In a statement, Chancellor Drew Bennett said, “We carefully weigh the growing needs of our campus and the standards that we want to maintain against what it will cost our students in tuition and the other sources of revenue available when making these decisions. Unfortunately, in addition to reducing programs, people and services, we must also raise tuition to help compensate for the extensive budget cuts to higher education.”

Online course fees at West Plains will also rise from $137 to $142 per credit hour, among other course fee hikes in specific degree programs. West Plains’ students will also pay more for staying in the Grizzly House or Grizzly Lofts, the school’s on-campus and privately-owned residence halls.

In addition, course fees for high school dual credit and dual enrollment students will go up to $62 per credit hour.

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