College students aren\'t clear on what additional fees mean

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JEFFERSON CITY -A recent state audit found an increase in fees for students both in-state and out-of-state at Missouri universities and colleges. Governor Nixon replied to State Auditor Nicole Galloway's report, arguing the state has made a major effort to make its state funded schools affordable. 

In the audit, Galloway argues state universities have capitalized on a loophole in the Higher Education Student Funding Act. The act places a cap on tuition increases but allows for increases in fees not associated with tuition. "Tuition" in the act encompasses required fees but does not include those established by a school's governing board, those voted on by the student body, or extra costs associated with a course. 

Gov. Nixon told the Associated Press, "You can get into these numbers and it can get kind of gnarly, but the bottom line is, I have made costs and quality dual pillars," Nixon said. "We've kept costs down; this audit shows that."

While Galloway agrees Nixon has made efforts to make the state the lowest in the nation for in-state undergraduate tuition increases since 2008, her report also found required fees increased 25 percent from 2009 to 2015. 

Andrew Zumwalt, an advisor at MU's office for Financial Success provides assistance for students looking to overcome "financial hurdles."

"Money is the last taboo. People don't want to talk about it," Zumwalt said. "Trying to find an outlet for help is difficult for students." 

Madison Stemmler an MU freshman said she experienced confusion over extra costs she did not expect from some of her courses. "Some of my classes my mom has been asking, what are these added fees, I thought tuition was just a flat rate for the classes you're taking," Stemmler said. 

Caroline Dobbs, an MU senior expressed confusion over what exactly the supplemental fees outlined by Galloway are. "It seems some what vague, we need more information about what we are paying for," Dobbs said. 

 

A University of Missouri spokesman said he did not have time to clarify what the supplemental fees are. 

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