By: Noah Green
Missouri Western’s Board of Governors on Thursday outlined a plan to either freeze -- or raise -- undergraduate tuition next year, depending on the budget adopted by the Missouri General Assembly.In order to keep tuition rates the same as the current year, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon’s budget proposal, which would increase funding to Western by $534,000 and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) funding by $647,000. State Representative Delus Johnson, who represents Western in the Missouri House, has estimated that Nixon’s estimate of sales tax revenue, 6.1 percent, is 1.7 percent higher than the prediction made by the General Assembly. Cale Fessler, vice president for financial planning and administration, supports Nixon’s higher education goals, and hopes that Western’s tuition will remain unchanged. “If the governor’s budget is approved, next year will be the fifth time in the last 11 years that Missouri Western will have frozen tuition for in-state undergraduate students,” Fessler said. Ultimately, two proposals for in-state undergraduates on the St. Joseph campus were approved by the board. The first keeps resident tuition and fees at $216.60 per credit hour, while the second would mean a 1.55 percent rise to $219.95 per hour. Brian Shewell, Western’s Student Governor, says time will tell whether or not students will see an impact. “There’s really nothing to talk about until such time as it did go through the legislature,” Shewell said. “Very rarely has anything come out before -- let’s be honest -- May, so I would say Lionel [Attawia] would be the Student Governor by the time it officially happens.” While tuition rates aren’t set in stone, next semester will see certain increased cost for both room and board. Housing costs will rise between 1.5 to 2 percent, which means a $42 to $59 increase per semester, depending on the hall. The board rate is set to increase $67 per semester for all meal plans, or 3.6 to 4.5 percent, depending on the plan.