New budget may freeze tuition

University President Troy Paino is going to request a tuition freeze for undergraduate students for the 2016-2017 school year.

Gov. Jay Nixon and Missouri public university presidents met Sept. 21 to discuss another tuition freeze for the 2016-2017 academic year, according to a press release from Nixon’s office. The governor plans to add 6 percent of last year’s State-approved higher education funding budget, or $55.7 million, toward higher education performance funding, raising the overall higher education budget to $985 million for the 2017 fiscal year, according to the press release. This is intended to help universities maintain revenue while keeping tuition rates flat for next year’s undergraduate college students.

Paino says he was among those who met with the governor prior to the announcement. Paino says this will be the highest state-appropriated funding increase during his time at Truman, and he says it will help tremendously compared to the cuts in funding Truman had during past years and the 1.2 percent increase Truman had this year.

Paino says the University has not yet made the budget for next year, but his highest priority is to do the best he can for an overall salary increase for University employees. He says this will try to catch up from prior years the University hasn’t been able to make increases. He says 1 percent of the added funding must go toward science-, technology-, engineering- and mathematics-related university programs — this was one of the governor’s requests.

Paino says there would be no problem making this investment, because he says this 1 percent would have gone toward the broad range of majors and classes Truman has in STEM fields anyway. He also said part of the overall funding increase will go toward other non-STEM areas, which he says will not be negatively impacted by the 1 percent set aside for the STEM areas.

Although Paino says he is optimistic Truman will be receiving the additional funding, he says it will be a while before the University will know for certain if the funding increase will be implemented. He sayts Nixon has to put together and propose his budget to legislation to vote on during early January, with the results announced later that month. Paino says it is too early to estimate university enrollment figures for next year and how those will affect tuition revenue for the University.

Paino says he will go to the Board of Governors to request a freeze for university undergraduate tuition and fees, and the Board of Governors will have the final say once it begins working on next year’s university budget during spring 2016. For graduate students, he says at most it will be a very small increase in tuition.

“What is amazing is that this is [Nixon’s] first commitment in his budget for the next fiscal year,” Paino says. “I think it is a remarkable statement for him to make higher education a priority for next year.”.

To read more from the executive director of institutional research and budgets, and Adair County’s house of representative who also serves on the higher education committee read more on Issuu.


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