Board raises tuition costs 4 percent

Dr. Julio León

Dr. Julio León

Tuition led the discussions during the Board of Governors meeting Feb. 17.

In November, Gov. Matt Blunt had asked institutions in Missouri to prepare for a 10 to 12 percent cut in their budgets. But, earlier this year, that has changed to a 2-percent increase in appropriations.

University President Julio León said that 2-percent increase amounts to $410,000. But, because of the increased costs in health insurance, retirement and utilities, the Board is requesting another 2-percent increase from the state.

With that, León said there would be a 4-percent increase in tuition. Instead of $125 a credit hour, it would be $130.

“While we do not like to increase tuition, [this is] minimal,” he said.

Jane Wyman, Board member, said she hopes the increase in tuition will not lead to “something bad.”

“It may affect our population,” Wyman said.

Dr. Nii Adote Abrahams, faculty liasion to the Board, said when tuition increases, it will have an impact “even though it is minimal.”

Student fees were also brought up during the tuition discussion.

“Those fees will be determined later,” León said.

Along with the student fees, Norris asked about a health center fee.

“Those are one of the things we’ll have to consider,” León said.

León said there is a “tremendous saving” on textbooks. He said there are two institutions in Missouri – Southern and Southeast Missouri State University – where the students rent their textbooks instead of buying.

“That is a tremendous benefit,” León said.

Student Senate President Eric Norris discussed the Biology Pond’s transformation into an Oriental garden.

He said the Pond is an academic asset.

“[It is] every bit as important as a textbook,” Norris said.

Not only losing the Biology Pond affects the academic assets, but also it affects the students’ studies, Norris said.

“They look to it as a great tool,” Norris said.

León said the University had received donations to change the Biology Pond.

“We will try to have a prettier place for the biology students,” he said. “We have no intention of taking it away.”

Other business discussed at the Board meeting:

[bullet] The Edward Jones Investment Center is now open in Matthews Hall. There will be a dedication ceremony on March 17.

“It is a wonderful edition,” said Board President Elizabeth Deffenbaugh.

[bullet] Norris said Holocaust Memorial Day will be April 26.

[BULLET] Norris also said Senate is planning its trip to Jefferson City.

[bullet] An international education exchange agreement was signed between Southern and Yugra State University in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia Feb. 17.

“They want to collaborate,” León said. “They want to make use of distance learning.”

[bullet] The Coordinating Board for Higher Education approved which associate degrees would be retained and which would be phased out.

[bullet] The Lewis and Clark Discovery Initiative is in the discussion stages in the legislature.

[bullet] Because of the increased cost in utilities, the Board brought up the issue of ways to conserve energy on campus.

“I would like to see us revisit that,” said Douglas Brooks, Board member.

Abrahams said they could think of ways costs could be cut.

The next Board meeting is scheduled for March 17.