Missouri State University. (Photo by Dean Curtis)

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Inflation and a labor market shortage are at the heart of a collection of tuition and student fee increases approved at both Missouri State University campuses, Clif Smart said during an MSU Board of Governors Executive Committee meeting on Wednesday.

Smart, MSU’s president, said “it’s unfortunate that we have to do this,” but it was a necessary move to keep up with what Springfield’s other major employers are paying full-time staff.

Along with seeking to provide 4 percent cost of living raises to all staff at a time when inflation has risen to 8.5 percent over the past 12 months, MSU is seeking to offer all full-time employees a minimum of $15 an hour. Smart said the inflation rate increase is four times more than any that MSU’s administration has managed over the past decade.

“This is a very different budget year than I have ever seen,” Smart said.

To hit the proposed compensation numbers for staff, Smart told the committee that fee schedules, which generate two-thirds of the university’s revenue, would have to increase.

  • For in-state undergraduate students, the cost per credit hour will increase $10, from $257 to $267.
  • For out-of-state undergrads, the cost increases $22, to $572 per credit hour.
  • For in-state graduate students, the costs per credit hour increases $13, to $333.
  • For out-of-state graduate students, the costs per credit hour increases $25, to $665.
  • Parking permit prices, as well as parking ticket fees, were among other increases approved.

The fee increases go into effect July 1.

The tuition increase that will affect most of MSU’s enrolled students, the $10 per credit undergraduate increase, reflects a 3.89% increase, less than the inflation rate over the past year. Smart said keeping the increase to less than half the rate of inflation reflects MSU’s commitment to be an affordable option for Missouri students. Other universities will have to increase their fees as well, Smart said.

The fee increases are the largest in Smart’s 11-year tenure, he said, but added the labor market left the university with no other choice.

The executive committee approved the fee increases at both the Springfield and West Plains campuses unanimously. A complete list of fee changes begins on page four of the Board of Governors agenda.)

Cory Matteson

Cory Matteson moved to Springfield in 2022 to join the team of Daily Citizen journalists and staff eager to launch a local news nonprofit. He returned to the Show-Me State nearly two decades after graduating from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Prior to arriving in Springfield, he worked as a reporter at the Lincoln Journal Star and Casper Star-Tribune. More by Cory Matteson