UM System Predicts Possible Tuition Hikes

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COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri's governing body said Friday it was "not opposed" to the tax cuts Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed on Wednesday.

The legislation would have cut taxes throughout the state. The possibility of a legislative override in September means discussion of the cuts' potential effects has not stopped.

During a UM Board of Curators meeting on Friday, the UM Curators tweeted that President Tim Wolfe "is not opposed to tax cuts as long as we are completing the equation for general revenue and funding for education." The Curators' Twitter account followed that tweet by noting that "potential shortfall in state revenue could lead to 10 percent decrease in state funding. Shortfall would equate to an increase in tuition of 8-16 percent."

In an email, the UM System's Chief Communications Director, John Fougere, said the UM System would have to consider raising tuition to compensate for a loss in state funding.

"If we did not steeply raise tuition, we would have to look at possibilities such as cuts in our workforce, decreased wages or even enrollment caps," Fougere said.

One student said an increase in the cost of attending MU could have impacted his decision to choose the school in the first place.

"One of the reasons I chose Mizzou was the tuition difference," Ben Turner said. "It was about $5,000 cheaper a year than the University of Maryland. If these tuition increases don't go away, than that advantage as far as tuition goes would essentially be wiped out."

Currently, MU charges $9,272 in tuition to in-state students and $22,440 in tuition to out-of-state students. The school draws in the most out-of-state students from Illinois, where the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign charges $11,834 for in-state tuition and $26,216 for out-of-state tuition, and Kansas, where the University of Kansas in Lawrence charges $8,790 for Kansans and $22,860 for out-of-state students.

If MU's tuition increases by 8 percent, the most conservative projection, costs would rise to $10,013 and $24,235 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. With a 16 percent increase, costs would rise to $10,755 and $26,030 respectively, closing the gap between Missouri, Illinois and Kansas.

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