University of Missouri curators raise tuition; new chancellor named at MU

The University of Missouri System curators voted Tuesday on tuition and fee increases at its four campuses, including the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
The University of Missouri System curators voted Tuesday on tuition and fee increases at its four campuses, including the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

University of Missouri System curators on Tuesday voted to charge students who live in the state 2.1 percent more in tuition.

Increases also approved by curators for fees students pay for courses in some study areas were even bigger, in the range of 2.1 percent and 5 percent more.

The vote on tuition followed a report earlier in the day naming Alexander Cartwright, the provost and executive vice chancellor at the State University of New York, as the next chancellor for the University of Missouri’s Columbia campus.

Mun Choi, who was tapped as president of the four-campus system in October, said Tuesday he recommended Cartwright for the MU chancellor job after an extensive national search.

Mizzou has been without a permanent chancellor since November 2015 after racial protests triggered the ousting of the last head of the Columbia campus and the previous UM System president.

One of Choi’s his first orders of business was to hire a new chancellor to oversee the Columbia campus.

He said he chose Cartwright in part because “he is an outstanding academic leader who has had experience at overseeing academic affairs and research at the largest state university system in the United States, with 64 campuses, a budget of $13 billion, 1.2 million students and four academic medical centers. And he understands the value of a public land grant university.”

Cartwright’s hire will be publicly announced at 1 p.m. Wednesday at the Reynolds Alumni Center in Columbia.

Cartwright is a native of the Bahamas. He holds a doctorate in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Iowa. SUNY’s website says Cartwright has been in his current role since 2014, where he has oversight responsibilities for full system, driving “academic policy and oversee(ing) a broad portfolio including: access and inclusion; academic program planning and assessment; enrollment management; student success; global affairs; information technology; and, SUNY’s broad research enterprise.”

According to the website, Cartwright introduced “a sweeping diversity, equity and inclusion policy” at that state university.

He takes the reins at MU at a difficult financial time for the university system. MU announced last week it would eliminate nearly 400 positions to cut 12 percent from its budget. The university attributed its budget reduction to decline in state funding and a dramatic drop in enrollment that resulted in a more than $16 million loss in revenue.

MU officials expect to recoup about $7 million through an increase in tuition and fees.

Choi said Tuesday the revenue loss at the system level is a bit better than what was projected. New information from the university system finance department indicates “our overall tuition revenue was higher than we expected,” Choi said.

“That means that we are going to have slightly more revenue than we expected, the budget shortfall is slightly less, but it’s a small number,” Choi said. The revenue change is not enough to impact budget cuts and layoffs being made on each of the four campuses and won’t present any relief on the tuition increases

The proposed jump in tuition and required fees for undergraduate Missouri residents would increase at the rate of inflation. At all but the Columbia campus, increases for undergraduate students coming from outside the state and all graduate students’ tuition and fees would be significantly higher than 2.1 percent. The increases would be effective July 1.

The proposed tuition and required fee increases range from $192 more a year at the University of Missouri-Kansas City to $201 more at Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla. Students going to MU would pay $199 more, including a new fee agreed to by students.

Mará Rose Williams: 816-234-4419, @marawilliamskc