The Board of Governors met last week.
The board approved a new tuition model. In-state undergraduate students currently pay tuition of $228 per credit hour for seated classes and $299 for online classes.
In 2021-22, in-state undergraduate students will pay a blended rate of $257 per credit hour for all classes. We anticipate this will result in no tuition increase for most students.
Missouri’s public universities have traditionally increased tuition each year by inflation. By approving the new tuition structure, we will break with that tradition and not increase tuition by CPI next year.
The change is revenue neutral. In 2020-21, in-state undergraduate students paid $87,630,000. Under the new model, students would have paid $87,605,000 — $25,000 less.
A large majority of students with which we interacted supported this change. It is fairer and allows students to better estimate the cost of their education. It allows the university to schedule classes, and students to decide which classes to take, without cost being a factor.
The new model also recognizes that the line between seated and online classes has blurred with many “seated” classes having a substantial online component.
CARES Act funds
The board also approved distributions of federal funds to students.
After all pending CARES Act allocations are received, the university will have $2.3 million of funds remaining from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund established by the CARES Act. Given the compliance requirements for these funds, the board determined that the best use of the Springfield campus allocation of these funds is to refund a portion of online tuition paid by qualifying students on the Springfield campus in the fall 2020 semester.
The remainder of the West Plains campus allocation will be distributed as emergency financial grants to students on the West Plains campus.
We are still calculating the exact amount of the distributions, but we anticipate the online tuition refund will be between $25 and $28 per credit hour. These refunds will be automatically applied to students’ accounts.
The board also approved the first distribution of funds from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA). The federal government has required that we distribute to students about $7.4 million of the funds we received under CRRSAA. The board approved the framework for our plan to distribute these funds as emergency financial aid grants with Pell students receiving a higher amount than other qualifying students.
We will finalize and communicate details about the CRRSAA student distributions in the coming weeks.
The board approved resolutions related to the university’s plans to refinance two sets of bonds that were originally used to finance JQH Arena, the O’Reilly Clinical Health Sciences Center, the Davis-Harrington Welcome Center, and to amend the bond issue for the purchase of Brick City Buildings 1, 3, 4 and 5. By refinancing these bonds, the university will save more than $4 million.
The board also approved an intent resolution to preserve the right to issue revenue bonds up to $25 million to finance the acquisition of the new residence hall.
Other board actions
The board approved the receipt of property (located at 326 N. Boonville) from the MSU Foundation, which will be used to house an art gallery for the Judith Enyeart Reynolds College of Arts and Letters. The board also approved the sale of property the university no longer needs located near the Bull Shoals Field Station in Taney County. The board also approved changes to the consulting contract for the Kampeter Hall project.
The board approved a new behavioral support assistant associate degree program in West Plains and an occupational therapy doctorate program in Springfield. The board also discussed the university’s new test optional scholarship package.
The board received two presentations about the university’s academic programs. In the Programs and Planning Committee, Rachel Heinz presented information about the Bear POWER program, and the board interacted with a panel of students enrolled in the program.
In the regular meeting, Dr. Nancy Gordon presented information about the university’s work in online education, and the board discussed emerging opportunities for new learning modalities. The board also interacted with a panel of four faculty members: Damon Basset, Natalie Curry, Dr. Seth Hoelscher and Dr. Margaret Weaver.
Finally, the board approved changes to its meeting schedule. These changes will allow us to have five socially distanced graduation ceremonies spread over two days in May.
Thanks for all you do for Missouri State!