Mo., state auditor blames the rise in total state college costs with recent cuts to state aid

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- If you have a child going to college soon, get ready for some sticker shock. An audit just released by Missouri officials shows total student costs for state colleges are skyrocketing.

Since 2009, tuition has increased by 1.6-percent per year. That rate is actually lower than any other state’s university system, but supplemental fees have skyrocketed 112% per student with students paying $310 more per year than they did back in 2009. Those fees include things such as a student activity fee, recreation facility fee, information technology fee and others. Many classes also have additional course fees they charge on top of tuition.

Missouri University students are paying about 25-percent more in tuition and fees than they did seven years ago. State auditor Nicole Galloway says the reason is that state lawmakers have cut state aid to universities by 9-percent over that time period. To make up that lost revenue, universities have also been cutting costs by not filling vacant positions; freezing raises; eliminating programs; increasing class sizes; and deferring maintenance needs.

The good news is state lawmakers recently approved $200-million in funds for maintenance this coming year.

Overall, the auditor found students and their families are shouldering more costs for a public college education, causing students to take out more in college loans and accumulate more college debt.

Increased Costs at Missouri Universities
- Tuition increased 1.6% per year
- Supplemental fees up 112% per student
- From $276 to $586/year

Increased Costs at Missouri Universities
- Tuition and fees 2009: $6,932/year
- Tuition and fees 2015: $8,638/year
- Total student costs up 25%