Regents Approve 2.8 Percent Tuition Increase, Stress Commitment to Affordability

While underscoring a long-held commitment to affordability at Southeast Missouri State University, the Board of Regents today approved a tuition and fee increase of $6.50 per credit hour for resident undergraduate students effective with the fall 2017 semester. The Regents approved the measure that will net $1.34 million, leaving the University to identify $4.05 million in expense reductions to balance the FY18 budget. “Southeast has always been committed to access and affordability, and, even in times of reduced state support, that is a guiding principle that we still adhere to,” said Dr. Carlos Vargas, president of Southeast Missouri State University. Vargas told the Board the tuition increases were a necessary consideration as the University’s Budget Review Committee worked to balance the FY18 budget. The tuition and fee schedule approved today was recommended to the president by the University’s Budget Review Committee, a group of 30 individuals representing all major interest groups on campus, and endorsed by Student Government. Vargas said the Budget Review Committee and Student Government take their responsibilities very seriously, and they, nor the University, wish to balance the budget on the backs of students. In an effort to financially support students, Vargas says Southeast awards $17 million in merit scholarships to deserving students and $2 million in endowed scholarships annually. In addition, Southeast’s textbook rental program saves students hundreds of dollars a year compared to the cost of buying books at most institutions. “Southeast is passionate about providing access to a quality higher education,” said Vargas, “and we closely monitor how fee increases affect Southeast students. We continue to believe in our mission to maintain an affordable tuition and fee structure so students can achieve their educational dreams.” This year, the university developed a three-year budget plan to minimize the annual effect of revenue fluctuations from enrollment and state appropriation funding levels. The multi-year plan accounts for current reductions in state appropriations, annual costs of continuing operations, and plans for future investment in academic and strategic initiatives during FY18-FY20. When combined, total per credit hour tuition and general fees charged to students beginning in fall 2017 will be $239.50 for Missouri resident undergraduates. The 2.8 percent hike, or $6.50 per credit hour, is the combined allowable increase for FY17 and FY18 under Senate Bill 389, and was endorsed by the Student Government. In accordance with the law, Southeast may only increase tuition charged to resident undergraduate students by the amount of the annual percentage increase in the consumer price index. In addition to the allowable FY18 increase, the Regents agreed to charge the FY17 increase, which was approved by the Board last May but waived and not assessed to students. Non-resident undergraduate, graduate and online degree tuition rates also will increase 2.8 percent in fall 2017 under today’s action, bringing those per credit hour rates to $424 for non-resident undergraduates, $537.75 for non-resident graduate students, $272.25 for undergraduate online-only degree courses and $334 for graduate online-only degree courses. Tuition and general fees on lower division courses at the regional campuses will increase $10 per credit hour, bringing that rate to $170 per credit hour. Even with the recommended increase, the fee on lower division courses will be less than community college rates in this area, Mangels said. In related action, the Board also approved eight special course fees to take effect with the fall 2017 semester.