COLUMBIA - The UM Board of Curators held a public session on Thursday to address a budget update to the fiscal plan for 2022, which includes a large increase in tuition prices.

The University of Missouri System's Chief Financial Officer, Ryan Rapp, told curators that a 5% tuition increase is needed to increase course offerings and research and to recruit and keep high-quality faculty.

In a press conference, UM President and MU Chancellor Mun Choi said the board will "do its due diligence" to keep the tuition increases between 2.5% to 5%.

"Affordability has been top of mind," he said. "The objectives of this increase is not to plug up budget holes, it's not to make investments in areas that don't contribute to student success, or research excellence. And that's, that's going to be key for all of us.

President Choi added his biggest reasoning for the increase is to hire more faculty in order to offer smaller class sizes.

"We've lost so many faculty over the past 20 years that the student to faculty ratio based on tenure track faculty, has gone up from 23 to one to 37 to one," he said. "What we want to do is hire more faculty members, hire more advisors, and provide a type of early intervention and more experiential programs to engage our students."

President Choi added that all four universities in the UM System will have a "normal fall" with in-person classes, unless there is a need to pivot back to virtual learning.

"We must be nimble enough for change," he said. "We were able to do it in the fall after our Thanksgiving break, so I am confident we will be comfortable with it if a change is necessary."

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