JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — One of Missouri’s smallest state universities could face accreditation trouble stemming from low tuition and a decline in state support.

Missouri Southern State University’s finances must be addressed before its 10-year re-accreditation site visit in 2019, said university President Alan Marble.

The state’s accrediting body, the Higher Learning Commission, warned Missouri Southern in November that the school’s financial difficulty could require an in-depth review of its finances.

Lawmakers have cut state funding for colleges and universities by $170 million since the 2010 fiscal year.

“We have been historically underfunded,” Marble said.

Republican Sen. Dan Brown of Rolla said he plans to increase the school’s allocation, which is currently $22.3 million.

“We’re probably going to have to put about $2 million extra in their line, one-time money, just to keep them from losing accreditation,” Brown said.

Lawmakers are also working to exempt Missouri Southern from the 1 percent tuition cap to stabilize the institution’s finances, the Columbia Daily Tribune reported . The school has the lowest tuition of any four-year public university in Missouri.

Republican Sen. Ron Richard of Joplin used to teach at Missouri Southern. He said the cap limiting tuition increases for in-state undergraduates has hurt Missouri Southern because of its size. The university didn’t hike their tuition ahead of the law like other schools, and now it’s paying the price, Richard said.

“Every time they get a new student, they lose money,” he said.

Marble plans to request a tuition hike at the next Board of Governors meeting.


Information from: Columbia Daily Tribune, http://www.columbiatribune.com

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