Missouri State University to raise tuition for 2023-24 school year

Published: Apr. 19, 2023 at 6:40 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - It seems like an annual occurrence that near the end of one school year, a college announces it is raising tuition for the next school year.

“Well, we have had little-to-no tuition increases in four to five of the 12 years that I have been here,” said Missouri State University President Clif Smart.

But after a 3.89 percent increase for the 2022-2023 school year, the school has announced another tuition increase of 4.5 percent for the 2023-24 school year. That means a $12 increase per credit hour to $279 for in-state students and a $25 increase to $597 for out-of-state students.

Suppose you look at statewide averages for all Missouri public colleges. In that case, Missouri State is slightly below-average as the statewide average for in-state students is $285 and for out-of-state students $664.

But a Missouri State University student taking a 30-hour class load over the next year will pay about $360 more.

“When you’re a college student, any amount of increase is going to be a negative in our eyes,” said freshman Tyler Clark. “So it’s kind of a killer. Not going to lie. When you’re a student, it’s hard to have a full-time job, so when costs go up, you may have to ask your parents for some help. That makes it harder on all of us.”

Clark explained he chose Missouri State over bigger state schools like Kentucky, Florida State, and Mizzou because of the lower tuition. But as MSU continues to increase its tuition, he does wonder if he made the right decision.

“Mizzou’s (tuition) is higher,” he said. “But I feel like eventually it will all start to balance out, and maybe I should have just gone there because the tuition here just continues to go up.”

“The University of Missouri has completely changed its structure,” Smart countered. “And now it costs between $14,000 to almost $18,000 a year compared to $9,500 for us. That gives us a huge price differential, so we continue to be the affordable big college option for Missouri students.”

If you look at the history of the national average for credit hour costs in four-year public schools, we’ve come a long way from the $86 students paid in 1963-64. By 1987-88 it was $144, and by 2000-01 it had reached $217. The highest average cost came in 2015-16 at $400 and was down slightly to $395 in 2020-21.

But a lot has changed over the years, from inflation to the current workforce conundrum of keeping and retaining employees.

“We have to do a significant compensation increase to be able to retain and attract good employees,” Smart said. “You’ve also got utilities, healthcare, and property insurance, as well as just about everything else going up.”

“Yes, the college has to deal with inflation,” Clark agreed. “But so do the rest of us.”

“Tuition and fees pay about 70 percent of our budget,” Smart added. “If we’re not able to attract good faculty and pay our bills, we won’t be able to give students the experience they wanted. We’ve worked hard to cut $5 million out of the budget, and so far, we’ve been able to keep tuition increases below the rate of inflation. So we’re working to keep things as affordable as we can while giving students the quality of faculty and education they expect to find when they come here.”

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