Students can expect a slight tuition increase for the fall of 2017. Missouri Western’s Board of Governors approved a 0.79 percent mid-year tuition increase to take effect this fall.The tuition increase will not be applied to students in the spring semester, but Administrators are still discussing if the fee will be applied to students enrolling in summer courses.
Prior to the start of Fiscal Year 2017, public higher education institutions agreed to keep the in-state, undergraduate tuition rates steady in exchange for a four percent increase in state appropriations under former Missouri Governor Jay Nixon.
However, due to Governor Eric Greitens’s recent withholdment of state allocations to higher education institutions, Western, along with several other institutions, is no longer bound to the agreement and may opt to increase tuition.
Due to the fact Western did not increase tuition rates in the 2016 fiscal year, a mid-year tuition increase of 0.79 percent increase will be applied. This increase will bring add an additional $1.58 charge per credit hour for students. The increase will bring in approximately $8,890 in additional tuition dollars for the university.
Vice President of Financial Planning Cale Fessler explained that the tuition increase would be based on the average tuition rate of all four year colleges in the state.
“Our calculation (for the increase) is based on average tuition of all four year state colleges and universities, and we are based on the average tuition because ours (in-state tuition) is below (the state average),” Fessler said.
In addition to increasing tuition, the university has implemented some changes to help compensate for the mid-year withholdment of $1.6 million in state allocations.
All departments had a three percent reduction in operating and travel budgets; all non-essential capital projects have been postponed; the equity theatre program Western Playhouse has been cancelled for the 2017 season and the university plans to save money through personnel attrition in the upcoming school year.
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Jeanne Daffron emphasized that the quality of education students receive will not be affected by university attrition, but departmental staffing will be adjusted to compensate for the mid-year withholdments.
“Programs change over time, and you have trends sometimes where there are fewer and fewer students and programs where there are more students. So we want to be sure that we match the need. So in programs where the demands have become significantly less, we may hold that (faculty position) out for a year, or move it to a place where there is more need,” Daffron said.
The final tuition rate for Western’s 2017-18 school year will be set in late April after the final state budget has been set for the next fiscal year. Any additional tuition increases will be dependant on the final approved state budget for FY 2018.
Governor Greitens has recommended an additional $159 million withholdment of state allocations to public colleges and universities in Fiscal Year 2018. Of the $159 million, Western would see approximately $2.09 million (nine percent) withholdment. However, the final state budget has yet to be approved by the general assembly.
Despite budget cuts, all projects under the Missouri House Bill 19 grant for renovation and maintenance will remain funded by the state. Western plans to finish off the remainder grant in the 2017-18 school year beginning with renovations to Popplewell Hall.