U.S. Markets close in 3 hrs 10 mins

Missouri curators approve 1.7 percent tuition hike

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) -- University of Missouri undergraduates who are state residents will pay 1.7 percent more in tuition next year as the four-campus system holds its annual hike to the rate of inflation.

The Board of Curators for the four-campus system unanimously approved the tuition increase Thursday at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Room and board will also increase. The increase for the 2013-14 academic year is slightly less than earlier estimates of a 2 percent boost.

State law limits annual tuition increases to the federal Consumer Price Index, and larger increases require schools to seek a waiver from Missouri's higher education department. But that poses political risks.

That was the case two years ago, when the University of Missouri system received such approval to set higher tuition rates but then watched Gov. Jay Nixon impose additional spending restrictions on higher education beyond those approved by legislators once he signed his final budget.

In Columbia, annual in-state tuition at the flagship campus will rise to $9,343, an increase of $158. Out-of-state undergraduates will see similar increases in Columbia and Kansas City but pay 4.4 percent more at the Missouri University of Science & Technology in Rolla and 6.8 percent at the University of Missouri- St. Louis. Increases in housing fees and meal plan costs range from $120 at UMSL to $255 in Columbia.

The new fees take effect this summer.

University President Tim Wolfe noted that the Missouri system has raised tuition over the past five years by a yearly average of 2.3 percent. That compares to 6 percent annual hikes by comparable institutions in surrounding states, he told curators. The comparatively modest increases come as system enrollment has increased by 34 percent over the past 12 years, largely driven by sizable jumps at the Columbia campus.