Missouri was recently ranked 49th in the nation in the change in total higher education spending per student between 2005 and 2010 in the State Higher Education Finance Report.
Nationally, per student spending increased 3.4 percent during this time frame. However, in Missouri per student spending decreased by 12 percent. Over the past three years Southeast Missouri State University's tuition has held steady at $208.50 per credit hour. The total cost to attend Southeast for four years -- without counting room and board -- is less than $26,000.
Affordability is not restricted to only undergraduate programs at Southeast. The university's online general emphasis MBA program was recently ranked No. 1 in affordability among AACSB-accredited business schools by GetEducated.com.
Southeast's affordable tuition along with its nationally recognized programs make it one of the state's hidden gems.
Statewide the tuition freeze in higher education will soon expire and as with other programs, a budget cut to higher education will be needed to help balance the budget. Gov. Nixon has proposed a 7 percent cut, and many institutions in the state are looking to raise tuition. However, considering the cuts to education could have been much deeper -- some estimating 15 to 20 percent -- Missouri institutions will hopefully keep any tuition increases minimal.
Missouri college students have been fortunate in recent years to be offered quality higher education programs at reasonable costs. Here's hoping this trend will continue.