Regents to vote on higher Southeast tuition

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Southeast Missouri State University wants to raise tuition by $9 a credit hour for in-state students and $18 a credit hour for out-of-state students to help balance its main operating budget for the coming fiscal year.

The board of regents is scheduled to vote on the tuition increase when it meets at 1:30 p.m. today at the University Center.

It also is expected to approve the fiscal 2006 operating budget, which amounts to over $119 million for the fiscal year that starts July 1. The budget envisions spending $93.7 million on basic operations and another $25.6 million on auxiliary services, such as campus housing and the Show Me Center.

Auxiliary services operate on revenue from user charges such as housing fees.

The basic operations budget includes $42.5 million in state funding. The rest comes from student fees, federal funding, and such items as library fines, investment income and facility rentals.

The proposed increase in tuition drew little attention Tuesday from Amy Brookover of Cape Girardeau as she worked in the university relations office on campus.

The 21-year-old will be a senior this fall. She said students expect annual tuition increases.

"I don't think that anybody is going to stop coming here," she said.

Besides, she said, Southeast is still cheaper than a lot of colleges.

Southeast officials said even with the proposed increase, tuition will be less at the Cape Girardeau school than at Central Missouri State, Northwest Missouri State, Missouri State University (formerly Southwest), Truman State University and the University of Missouri campuses at Columbia and St. Louis.

With the tuition increase, in-state undergraduates at Southeast would pay $158.80 per credit hour and out-of-state undergraduates would pay $287.30 a credit hour. For graduate students, the cost would be $186.20 per credit hour for Missouri residents and $339.10 per credit hour for those students who live out of state.

While the proposed tuition increase is $9 more than the fee charged in the just-completed spring semester, it's only $7 more than the tuition charged last fall, university president Dr. Ken Dobbins said.

That's because the university lowered tuition for the spring semester by $2 a credit hour, he said. The decrease kept a promise the regents had made to lower tuition if the school received increased state funding.

Dobbins said the tuition increase would generate about $1.6 million in added revenue, money needed in part to help pay $750,000 in added expenses in the state retirement program, raise salaries by about 2 percent for faculty and staff under the university's merit pay system, and increase stipends for graduate assistants and department chairmen.

Dobbins said the tuition increase recommended by the university's budget review committee will provide needed revenue while keeping the school's fees competitive with other public colleges in Missouri.

"It's still a very good value," Dobbins said.

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