COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) __ Years of steady enrollment growth and declining state support has University of Missouri leaders publicly discussing limits on the number of students who attend the system’s four campuses.__ a notion that had previously only been whispered in private.
There are no immediate plans to cap enrollment. But acting system president Steve Owens and university curators say the move deserves serious consideration. Their stance comes after Gov. Jay Nixon recently cut the university system’s budget by an extra $4.4 million in response to a 5.5 percent UM tuition hike that exceeded the state’s suggested boost.
The university system’s 8.1 percent budget cut in fiscal year 2012 is greater than the reductions at other public universities that didn’t raise tuition and fees more than 1.5 percent. That’s
the limit set by a three-year-old law that caps tuition increases at the consumer price index inflation rate, barring special exceptions.
“We cannot continue to take more and more students while state support declines and there are legal and practical restrictions on our ability to increase tuition,” Owens said. “Without adequate resources, the quality of our academic and research programs is at risk.”
Enrollment at the flagship campus in Columbia has increased nearly every year over the past decade, with more than 32,000 students enrolled at the start of the fall 2010 semester. That
number is expected to increase by another 1,000 when students return in August, said Ann Korschgen, vice provost for enrollment management.
The enrollment surge has been met with an accompanying drop in state funding. The university system counts on state support for 36 percent of its current revenues, said Nikki Krawitz, vice president for finance and administration. Little more than a decade ago, that figure was 64 percent.
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