by Valerie Verkamp
Many students and their parents in the Kansas City metropolitan area will be forced to budget for the rising costs of higher education.
The cost of tuition at Park University will be increasing with the fall semester.
The cost of undergraduate tuition at Park University will swell to $346 per credit hour. That is a 4.8 percent increase from last spring.
This increase will cost the average college student enrolled in 12 credit hours for two consecutive terms about $8,304. That is $384 more than a student at Park University paid last year.
The cost of online courses through Park University will also rise. It is estimated that more than 50 percent of students at Park University are enrolled in at least one on-line course. Taking into account the additional $25 online course fee, the cost of taking an online course will cost $371 per credit hour. That is a 4.5 percent increase.
In addition, the cost of graduate courses will also jump next fall. Last year, the cost of graduate tuition was $455 per credit hour. This year it will increase to $480. That is a 5.5 increase from last spring.
School officials say the tuition increase is not related to the reduction of state funding, since Park University does not receive any outside money with the exception of grants.
“Whenever we increase our tuition it is related to our overhead costs,” said Rita Weighill, vice president for communications. “And that is what we primarily base our tuition increases on.”
Compared to surrounding places of higher education, Park University offers a competitive price, said Weighill.
“Even though we are a private, non-profit institution, our costs are often lower than public state schools and it remains that way,” she said. “No one ever wants to increase tuition, but you still need to cover your operating costs.”
Park University's total budget is $82 million. Majority of the revenue the university receives from tuition goes to instruction expenses, said Weighill. Instruction expenses are related to academic programs, guest lectures, student travel, faculty improvements, other travel related expenses, academic supplies, faculty salaries, and benefits.
On the bright side, students in the military on active duty will continue to receive a substantial discount to the cost of their tuition. Additionally, nursing tuition and fees will remain at $20,857 a year.
School officials with the Kansas City Metropolitan Community College say they will not be raising college tuition this year. Students within the district will continue to pay $92 per credit hour at Maple Woods Community College and out-of-district students will pay $161 per credit hour. A student enrolled full time for two terms will pay $2,208 a year.
The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) will have a three percent increasein the cost of tuition for the 2012-2013 academic year.
In-state undergraduate students enrolled in the 2012 fall term will pay $361.49 per credit hour.
Mel Tyler, vice chancellor of student affairs and enrollment management, said “although our state appropriation is currently 33 percent of our campus budget, our operating costs and costs of instruction are also increasing.”
“Under state law, public universities may not increase tuition by more than the Consumer Price Index (which this year was 3%) unless they apply for and are approved for a waiver. UMKC did not request a waiver of this requirement because we wanted to limit the impact a tuition increase would have on our students as much as possible,” said Tyler.
This will be at least the second straight year for a tuition hike at UMKC. The board of curators approved a 5.5 percent increase just last year.
This past year the state provided 15 percent of UMKC's operating revenue.