The University of Missouri System is strongly considering tuition increases for its four campuses due to declining enrollment and declining state funding.
It’s still early in the budgeting process, but this week’s Board of Curators meeting was the first chance for the governing body to discuss Republican Gov. Eric Greitens’ proposal for another large cut in state funding — 9 percent — in the 2017-2018 fiscal year.
Interim system president Mike Middleton, who was attending his final curators’ meeting before incoming president Mun Choi takes over, said the system will be able to manage without doing layoffs. However, he said, tuition increases could be a necessary “Band-Aid.”
To raise tuition above the rate of inflation, the system would need either a waiver or have legislators lift the state law that caps tuition increases. When the university system received a waiver six years ago to adjust tuition more than inflation, former Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, retaliated by cutting funding.
University of Missouri-St. Louis Chancellor Tom George suggested an increase of about 5 percent at a recent finance committee meeting.
The curators will next have a chance to discuss cuts or tuition increases in April.