Vartabedian goes on record about ten percent increase
Missouri Western will be requesting a waiver from the state government to increase tuition in response to state cuts and increased costs.
University President Robert Vartabedian said at a faculty senate meeting last week that the university will be asking for an increase of up to ten percent. First the proposal must be approved by Western’s Board of Governors before sending it to the state.
“We’re hopeful that we can justify a reasonable increase, as the governor put it, and that we will be successful at those various steps along the way,” Vartabedian said.
Gov. Jay Nixon has outlined a list of such justifications, essentially requirements that institutions must meet before a waiver can be passed.
“I think we’re certainly in the ball park,” Vartabedian said. “As I looked at the list I thought we were well qualified with that request.”
Vartabedian said that the extra money from the increase would be primarily used for maintaining the quality of education that Western offers.
“Probably the biggest thing we’re going to do with the money is offset the cuts we’re going to receive [from the Missouri Appropriations Committee],” Vartbedian said.
For three years, Western’s faculty and staff have not received a raise while dealing with an increased cost of living. Vartabedian hopes to return raises for faculty and staff as well as helping Western grow.
“There are just so many things we would like to do,” Vartabedian said. “We would like to offer more programming, we would like to do more with summer school, we would like to do more with distance education, there’s just a lot of things we would like to do on our campus.”
According to Mel Klinkner, vice president of financial planning and administration, the exact purpose of the money is still yet to be determined.
“We don’t even know what the governor’s budget is yet, so we don’t know what the university’s cut is going to be.” Klinker said.
Klinker said that the university might be experiencing any where from a 5-25 percent cut from the State Appropriations Committee, on top of increasing expenses.
If the state comes back with a low cut, such as five percent, Klinker said the ten percent increase would be used to offset the past few years of drawing from reserve funds as well as increasing the quality of Western’s education.
Even with an increase, Vartabedian assures students that Missouri Western is “still a major bargain” for students.
“There’s some schools where you’re talking about $40,000 or $50,000 a year for tuition,” Vartabiedian said.
Freshman Michael Smith was shocked to hear that the university may be increasing tuition.
Smith said that large class sizes do not bother him but also sees the benefits in smaller class sizes, but either way would not consider dropping out.
“I’m just going to have to find more money,” Smith said.