UM Board of Curators approve tuition increase

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COLUMBIA – The UM Board of Curators voted Monday to increase tuition by up to 2.1 percent for the 2018-2019 school year.

The tuition increase comes after an agreement with the state legislature, which spared the university from budget cuts. 

Mun Choi, UM system president, said the University of Missouri system's four campuses have some of the lowest tuition rates in the country.

"If we look at the level of support that we receive from student tuition over the past eight years, the increase in Missouri has been the lowest in the United States. I believe it's the fourth lowest," Choi said. 

For this coming school year, in-state undergraduate students will only pay a 1 percent increase, while out-of-state undergraduate students will pay the full 2.1 percent increase.

Christian Basi, director of media relations, said the four schools do attract a lot of out-of-state students, and he doesn't see that changing.

"We don't anticipate this very small increase having a major decrease," he said.

Choi also said the tuition is increasing because there are greater needs at the campuses. He said students who are Pell Grant-eligible are going to see a dramatic decrease in their cost of attendance. 

"Part of what we are going to do put it back into scholarships for students," he said. 

To some students, like Allison Christiansen, the thought of an increase in tuition is concerning.

“College is really expensive and the more expensive they make it, the harder it is to afford it and then people are definitely going to go for the cheaper options,” Christiansen said.

Mitchell Davis is an MU student from Texas who stayed and worked to gain in-state residency over the last summer. He said part of what drew him to MU was the opportunity to gain residency and get lower tuition. Davis said increases can be a lot to students and their families who come from out of state.

“People might think ‘Oh it’s just a 1 percent or 2 percent increase’ but that 1 percent or 2 percent increase, that’s a lot to be asking students to pay for,” he said.

Christiansen and Davis both said looming debt can be daunting for current and future college students.

“Most people leave school with a lot of debt, especially if you’re going to grad school, and any way to minimize that is definitely worth it,” Christiansen said.

Davis said if the university is going to increase tuition, students are going to leave with more debt than they expected.

(Editor's note: has updated this story to reflect the results of the voting and clarify who would be affected by the increases.)