Yust recommends Board consider $20 tuition increase

It’s still another month until the Missouri Southern Board of Governors sets next year’s tuition, but the governors weighed some possibilities in their retreat on March 18-19.

In a presentation to the Board, Southern’s Vice President of Business Affairs Rob Yust provided several scenarios that projected where Southern would be in the next five years based on different tuition increases.

When Board members asked which projections to most strongly consider, Yust suggested looking at a $20 or more increase. Right now, Southern’s tuition is already at $143 per credit hour, so a $20 increase would make tuition 14 percent higher.

“A good place to target your thinking is probably from here down,” Yust said, indicating the $20-28 range. “In my view, the most conservative approach is ($20).”

Yust’s projections were based on the assumption that Southern’s unrestricted cash will end Fiscal Year 2012 at $11 million. If tuition is increased $20 a credit hour, the projections say Southern should end FY12 around $10 million and FY16 around $8.8 million. If tuition is increased to $27 per credit hour, Southern should end FY12 around $11.1 million and FY16 around $9.5 million.

Southern is limited to increasing tuition only according to a rise in the Consumer Price Index. Right now, Southern is only allowed to increase tuition 6.05 percent, or $8.65 a credit hour. Increasing tuition above 6.05 percent means Southern would have to apply for a waiver from the State of Missouri.

Not increasing tuition makes Southern’s five-year outlook seem desperate. Only increasing tuition $8.65 would mean Southern ends FY12 at $8.7 million and FY16 around $1.3 million.

Board members also discussed the probability that an increase in tuition will mean a decrease in enrollment. However, they think the increase will more than cover any lost revenue from decreased enrollment.

Also, when compared to other four-year institutions in the state, Southern is still the most financially viable option. Even Northwest Missouri State University, the next cheapest option at $163 per credit hour, has almost $1,000 more in required fees than Southern.

“We’re still going to be the lowest,” said Board member Richard Walter.

Yust is unsure if Pittsburg State University in Kansas, the nearest out-of-state competitor, plans to raise tuition as well.

Extended learning

Another department looking at where it could be in five years is extended learning. Southern is planning to increase and restructure its distance learning outreach as a way to boost enrollment.

After three years, Southern’s Dean of Graduate and Extended Studies Jo Kroll thinks Southern will start seeing “significant” enrollment increases. After five years, she thinks the school will reach its currently planned growth.

One extended studies initiative is to reorganize online classes so that all have a uniform structure, resulting in what Kroll called a “virtual campus.”

“Certainly, moving to a huge online structure is a change in the culture,” Kroll said.

The plan also includes hiring adjunct faculty members for online classes. Kroll mentioned the school “may never see” these adjunct instructors. However, the plan is to gain adult learners globally.


Southern’s Athletics Director Jared Bruggeman presented a recap of the past year in athletics for the Board.

He said community service has been given a large focus in athletics. Since May 1 last year, the department has accumulated more than 3,500 hours in community service by the student athletes and staff.

Also, the restructured Lionbacker program has received $75,300 more in donations than last year. He also reported that more than 49,000 people attended MSSU basketball and football games this year, an average of 2,133 people per event.