(From Northwest News Services)
MARYVILLE, Mo. – Northwest Missouri State University’s Board of Regents, during its regular meeting Thursday, approved the booking of an increase of the University’s tuition for the 2018-2019 academic year in addition to fees and three accelerated master’s programs.
The Board booked a tuition increase of 2.1 percent for Northwest undergraduate students next fall, while tuition rates for graduate students will not change.
The implementation of the Missouri resident undergraduate tuition up to the allowable Consumer Price Index (CPI) limit is subject to negotiation by the University president and statewide peers in collaboration with Missouri legislators regarding state appropriations approved in the final budget and actual state appropriations awarded throughout the fiscal year.
Northwest proposed the tuition increase based on the allowable rate for undergraduate resident tuition and fees, established by the annual CPI and a Missouri statute that limits the state’s colleges and universities from raising tuition above CPI.
The Board-approved discipline-specific program fees are based on market competition and cover costs for non-standard coursework. Additionally, the Board approved an increase to room and board by an average of 2.5 percent, depending on the residence halls and meal plans students select.
Presenting the University’s proposal to Regents, Northwest Vice President of Finance Stacy Carrick noted Northwest continues to be a great value proposition and is one of the most efficient in the region in delivering a quality education and programs to its students and stakeholders.
Carrick emphasized Northwest’s focus on protecting access and affordability while ensuring the University delivers quality programs at competitive rates. She also noted University administrators engage student leaders in discussions regarding tuition and fees.
“When we talk with students, what they bring forward to us as what’s more important is the quality of programs they have,” Carrick said. “They know there’s a cost that comes with that, and they look for us to be reasonable in what we’re bringing forward.”
Regarding its value, the University points to evidence such as the results of performance-funding metrics that span the number of degrees it awards, placement rates, the percentage of budget dollars devoted to its core mission, the percentage change in net tuition and fee revenue, and the percentage change in total salary expenditures.
Northwest reports that 96 percent of its first-time, full-time students receive some type of financial assistance. Additionally, Northwest’s tuition increases have been among the lowest in the nation during the last nine years.
The University’s placement rates for undergraduates and graduates are 96 and 97 percent, respectively, and its student loan default rate of 8.1 percent is below the state average of 10.9 percent and the national average of 11.5 percent.
Northwest also points to the value of its internationally benchmarked student employment program, which provides about 1,200 jobs to students on the campus, and its textbook and laptop rental programs, which are included in the University’s tuition rates and not offered by most universities.
The textbook program bundles and provides undergraduate students with all of their primary textbooks at the start of each trimester. The laptop program provides all students with a fully loaded laptop notebook computer as well as technical support. The programs save students an estimated total of $7,300 – the equivalent of about one year of tuition at other Missouri institutions – during the course of a four-year academic career.
Furthermore, Northwest President Dr. John Jasinski pointed to the University’s efficient use of funds, explaining that approximately 80 percent of its FY19 budget will be generated by cost containment measures, funding reallocations and other revenue streams, while the remaining 20 percent will be covered through tuition and fees charged to students.
“As we talk to our students, our faculty and staff, and our Board, the efficiency piece is critical for us,” Jasinski said, noting University savings of $66.5 million during a four-year period. “It’s a composite picture as we think about revenue, expenses, efficiencies, cost containment.”
In other business, the Board approved curriculum changes that included the creation of accelerated master’s degree programs in applied computer science, English and mathematics, and the reactivation of the Bachelor of Science program in physics. The accelerated programs will allow undergraduate students, during their junior and senior years, to complete graduate coursework that counts toward their bachelor’s degree as well as a Master of Science degree. Students then complete the remaining credit hours of graduate coursework during their fifth year at Northwest.
The Board also authorized the University to begin upgrades at three campus facilities after a competitive bid process on each of the projects. Following up on the Board’s approval of the projects during its January session, Carrick informed the Board that Northwest awarded contracts of about $1.1 million to Lee Grover Construction to renovate restrooms in Perrin residence hall; of $586,000 to RS Electric Corporation to upgrade the electrical system in the Olive DeLuce Fine Arts Building; and about $793,000 to JPI Glass LLC to replace windows at Colden Hall.
The Board of Regents is responsible for sound resource management of the University and determining general, educational and financial policies.