The Regents approved assessing a $5.75 per credit hour increase on in-state undergraduate tuition, equal to the 2.3% increase in CPI last year, and a $2 per credit hour increase in the maintenance and repair general fee, bringing the total increase to $7.75 per credit hour. In FY20, Student Government approved a two-year phased increase in the general fee to better support maintenance and repair of University building and grounds. The $2 per credit hour general fee increase approved today corresponds to the second year of this Student Government-recommended general fee increase.
Under the new fee schedule, Southeast’s per credit hour tuition rates for non-resident undergraduate, graduate and online programs will also increase by the 2.3% change in the CPI.
Tuition and general fees for lower division courses at the regional campuses will increase $3 per credit hour, bringing that rate to $181 per credit hour, which is consistent with area community college rates.
Justin Jacobs, Student Government treasurer and representative to the University’s Budget Review Committee, said, “With COVID-19 our University has been hit hard much like other universities all over the state. It is crucial that in order to improve the student experience that we increase tuition and fees. I believe that with the extra funding we receive through tuition and fees our University will continue to prosper even through these harder times.”
He said Student Government also is supportive of the increase in the general fee.
“Student Government thought that in order to continue to have pride in our University we need to love the way it looks. The increase in the Maintenance and Repair fee will help to improve campus structures and grounds. It is important to invest in our campus or else we will fall behind with repairs, and our structures will become outdated and deteriorate without repair. Our hope is that the improvements will also draw the eyes of incoming students as well.”
Kathy Mangels, vice president for finance and administration, walked the Regents through this year’s budgeting process. She said the University’s Budget Review Committee is working on a different timetable this year. The committee, which includes representation from all employee groups and divisions, normally meets during the spring, completing their work by April, so tuition and fee recommendations can be in May and the full budget in June to the Southeast Board of Regents.
However, due to COVID-19, the state legislature had been suspended. In addition, the pandemic’s considerable impacts on state revenue led to a recent withholding of $3.7 million in FY20 for Southeast, and to the announcement that the governor and legislature would need to redevelop the FY21 budget with a reduced revenue consensus estimate. These developments caused the University to extend their budget preparation timeline as well.
“While we do not yet know our state-funding level for next academic year and the budget gap we will need to fill, we know a drastic slowdown in economic activity related to the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted state revenues,” said Dr. Carlos Vargas, president of Southeast Missouri State University. “Like most higher education institutions, we are also planning for a projected enrollment decline in the coming year that will result in less tuition revenue and impact revenues to auxiliary units like Residence Life, Textbook Rental and others, that help support the general operating budget of the University.
“Unfortunately, while a tuition increase is necessary, we will not waiver in our commitment to our students. We are implementing a variety of new strategies to recruit, retain, and graduate our students and are continuing our efforts to provide a high-quality experience for them,” he said.