Tuition and fees at Southeast Missouri State University will remain flat in fall 2016, under action approved by the University’s Board of Regents today.
When combined, total per credit hour tuition and general fees charged to students beginning in fall 2016 will be $233 for Missouri resident undergraduates and $412.50 for non-resident undergraduates, the same rates charged in fiscal 2016.
With no increase in the coming year – a plan endorsed by Southeast’s Student Government – students graduating in four years will have seen a total tuition and fee increase of only 3.52 percent during their college career, among the lowest in the nation, according to Kathy Mangels, vice president for finance and administration.
Based on the new rate schedule approved by the Regents, Southeast’s tuition will remain lower than almost every comparable university in the region. Southeast’s tuition of $199.30 per credit hour for fiscal 2017 will be less than the University of Missouri-Columbia’s rate of $276.20, Missouri State University’s rate of $205, Truman State University’s rate of $298 and Murray State University’s rate of $350.
The flat fee rate was recommended as a result of the University’s budget planning process for fiscal year 2017. Tuition revenue is just one of several sources of revenue considered in the budget process, including state appropriations. On April 27, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon signed HB2003 which provides a 4 percent pool of increased appropriations for public higher education institutions in fiscal 2017. This equates to a $1.918 million increase for Southeast. Mangels said Southeast met all five performance funding indicators established by the Missouri Department of Higher Education for the fiscal 2017 appropriations process, which equates to a 3.67 percent appropriations increase. Southeast will receive an additional .58 percent in appropriations based on student credit hours taught, bringing the University’s total appropriations increase to 4.25 percent.
Mangels said as part of the legislative process, the state legislature and Governor’s Office requested that undergraduate tuition and fees not increase in consideration of the state appropriation increase.
The Regents, however, did approve a .7 percent increase in graduate tuition for fall 2016. Under the new schedule, per credit hour rates will be $296.50 for resident graduate students and $525 for non-resident graduate students.
In addition, the Regents approved a $10 per credit hour increase in total tuition and general fees for lower division courses at Southeast’s regional campuses, bringing that rate to $160 for fall 2016. This revenue will help fund deferred maintenance needs at the regional campuses identified in a recent facility assessment. Even with the increase, the fee on lower division courses will be less that community college rates in the area, Mangels said.
She said the tuition and fee schedule approved by the Board today is the culmination of several months of work by the University’s Budget Review Committee. It recommended a balanced budget that provides higher than CPI salary increases, covers the cost of continuing operations, including increased utility costs, and invests in program enhancement in all divisions without raising undergraduate tuition, Mangels said.
Regents Approve Special Course Fees
In related action, the Board also approved a special $50 course fee effective with the fall 2016 semester on two new kitchen lab courses for dietetics majors offered in the Department of Human Environmental Studies. The fee, she said, would help offset the cost of food staples, meats, vegetables, seafood, pasta and breads purchased by the department for use by the students.
Special course fees cover the cost of consumable supplies or other expenses unique to a course. Formalizing the “up-front” billing avoids surprise costs to students after they enroll and makes them eligible for the Hope Scholarship and Lifetime Learning tax credit that students or parents may claim, Mangels said.
The Regents also approved special course fees for electronic materials for seven courses for fall 2016. The Board also reduced the cost of electronic materials for four courses for 2015-2016.
The fee covers the cost of students being provided with a single sign-on to access the University’s learning management system and their electronic course materials. Access to these IncludEd courses eliminates students needing to buy a code for an e-text from the Southeast Bookstore, ensures they have access to course materials on the first day of classes and makes the cost eligible for financial aid and included in payment plans.
Mangels says the cost assessed as a special course fee is equal to or less than the cost of purchasing a code through the bookstore.