Parker Willis

With the academic year nearing its end, the Board of Governors voted to keep tuition level for another year.

The vote is in line with other colleges and universities that have accepted a proposal by Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon that state higher educations appropriations would not be cut if institutions held the line on tuition.

University President Bruce Speck said the alternative was raising tuition by only 20 cents per credit hour, which wouldn’t have been much of an increase compared to past boosts. But the Board voted unanimously to keep tuition at $143 per credit hour for 2009-2010.

However, there were some questions raised.

Speck said that if the financial situation continues with its current trend, and the governor wants universities to continue not to raise tuition, this could create a bit of a problem after two years. At that time, he said, the University may face a need for a major tuition increase.

“I understand going lockstep with other universities, but for our constituents and our students I want to hold tuition as low as we possibly can,” Board member David Ansley said.

Ansley noted that only four or five years ago the Board had voted to lower tuition and keeping tuition the same may not be good for long.

“We have to continue to promote academia at this University, and doing it on the cheap by cutting corners right and left, which we’re doing a great job of, is good for this year,” he said. “But I would like for us to have an open mind as to what we are doing and what our responsibilities are in the future for this University.”

Speck said he thought this was an important issue and he would address this in front of COPHE later in the week.

The Board also discussed campus building projects.

Dr. Terri Agee, senior vice president, said the health sciences building was about six to eight weeks behind but the contractor was doing what he could to get the building caught up, despite the wind conditions.

The planned weather shelter is also having a few problems. One of which is the fundraising for the project. Originally the estimated cost was $2 million, but now the project is estimated at $6 million. Agee said currently she is trying to increase fundraising efforts for the project.

But on a good note, the Beimdiek Student Recreation Center is right on time.

“It’s really coming together now,” Agee said. “The outside of the building is taking on its final appearance. We may even be able to open up the new retail book store and the student lounge before the beginning of the fall semester.”

The original projected date was October 2009.

The Board then went into a closed session. The next Board of Governors meeting is scheduled for June 18.