Board of Regents approves tuition, master’s degree in educational diagnostics
MARYVILLE, Mo. – Northwest Missouri State University’s Board of Regents, during its regular session on March 20, approved an increase of the University’s tuition for the 2020-2021 academic year, placing a continued emphasis on accessibility, affordability and strengthening the University for the future.
Northwest’s tuition and fees will increase next fall in alignment with the Consumer Price Index (CPI), by 2.3 percent. Tuition rates will increase by an estimated average net price of $292 for undergraduate in-state residents and $552 for undergraduate out-of-state residents based on enrollment in 28 credit hours during the course of the academic year.
The increase is based on the allowable rates for undergraduate resident tuition and fees, provided by the Missouri Department of Higher Education under the Higher Education Student Funding Act (HESFA), which also accounts for increases in the CPI and decreases in state operating support.
The proposal approved by the Board includes an increase to room rates, based on a 2.8 percent CPI, along with fees related to technology, textbooks and student‐approved designated fees.
Meal plans will increase, based on CPI and the University’s contract with its third-party vendor, depending on the meal plans students select.
Among those student-approved designated fees is a health and wellness fee increase of $4.65 per credit hour. The fee, which was supported by Northwest’s Student Senate, will provide two additional staff members to address extended wait times, maintain grant positions, allow for enhanced preventative mental health programming, help promote a holistic approach to well‐being and support a sustainable operating model for Wellness Services during the next five years.
The Board also approved $5 per credit hour tuition increases to Northwest graduate programs, which are set based on market demand and program offerings. Graduate tuition will increase next fall to $340 per credit hour for business programs, to $335 per credit hour for computer science and information systems programs, and to $290 per credit hour for other graduate programs.
Presenting the University’s proposal to Regents, Vice President of Finance and Administration Stacy Carrick acknowledged financial concerns created amid the COVID-19 outbreak but emphasized Northwest’s emphasis on providing accessible and affordable education options while enhancing the quality programs and experiences the institution delivers to students and stakeholders.
“Our guiding principles are student success, our people and continuing to build for the future,” Carrick said before referencing Northwest’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. “It’s very easy when you find yourself in a national pandemic, like we are, to kind of slink back and retract. We’re trying to make sure that we’re not finding ourselves in that position. We recognize and respect that this a tough conversation to have in times like we are, but we also know that it’s important to share and communicate with our students and their families. We believe that our timing is critical for our students and families … and we believe bringing this forward at this time is what’s best for our students as they look to plan for the future.”
Northwest reports that 97 percent of its first-time, full-time students receive some type of financial assistance. Additionally, Northwest’s average net price is favorable when compared to an average of competitors in Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas. Furthermore, Northwest’s average student indebtedness is lower than state and national averages, and its student loan default rate of 7.9 percent is below the state and national averages of 9.9 percent and 10.1 percent, respectively.
Northwest’s placement rates for undergraduates and graduates, meanwhile, are 96 and 98 percent, respectively. The University 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 semester. 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 $7,400 – the equivalent of about one year of tuition at other Missouri institutions – during the course of a four-year academic career.
In support of continuing Northwest’s laptop rental program next fall, Regents on Thursday also approved a technology purchase, not to exceed $4 million, through Hewlett-Packard for new notebook computers and desktop computer lab upgrades for specialized software.
In addition to giving the University approval to execute a contract with E.L. Crawford to construct its Agricultural Learning Center (ALC) at the R.T. Wright Farm, Regents approved the addition of a Master of Science in Education program in educational diagnostics. The degree program, which will be offered online beginning in fall 2020, will build students’ knowledge and skills for much-needed resources in school systems, including assessment, intervention, collaboration, analysis and interpretation of standardized testing, and implementation of plans to support PK-12 students’ needs. The program content will include leadership, collaboration, conferencing and exposure to the role played by district diagnosticians.
The Board also approved revisions to Northwest’s Graduate Academic Credit Policy and its Code of Academic Integrity Policy. Additionally, Regents authorized the University to amend its existing contract with Academic Partnerships, which partners with Northwest to provide online programs, to expand its Online Professional graduate and undergraduate programs.
In a demonstration of the measures being taken to minimize the spread of the COVID-19 virus and align with the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Regents and attendees at Thursday’s meeting practiced social distancing by spacing their chairs several feet apart. A majority of the Board members participated in the meeting through the Zoom web conference tool. To begin the meeting, Northwest Leadership Team members updated Board members about how the University is addressing impacts of COVID-19, noting that a crisis management team meets daily and is planning from both a tactical perspective as well as a longer-term strategic point-of-view.
The meeting was the first for Lydia Hurst (R), of Tarkio, who was confirmed by the Missouri Senate on March 12. Hurst, who previously served on the Board from 2003 to 2013, returned to fill the seat of Richard Smith for a term scheduled to end Jan. 1, 2025.
The Board of Regents is responsible for sound resource management of the University and determining general, educational and financial policies.