University of Missouri to Raise Tuition, Cut Jobs, Close Halls Amidst Declining Enrollment

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The University of Missouri, which was besieged with protests in 2015, is cutting up to 400 jobs, closing seven dorms, and raising tuition up to six percent to offset the continuing budget shortfalls due to declining enrollment.

After protests on campuses led to a decrease in expected enrollment at the university for the fall 2016 term, the University of Missouri grappled with ways to handle the budget shortfall for the 2016-2017 year. The school ultimately decided to close residence halls and cut jobs when faced with declining enrollment.

According to the Columbia Daily Tribune, overall enrollment at the university for the previous year declined 6.1 percent. Current projections show enrollment is expected to 7.4 percent for the term starting in the fall, while first-time freshman enrollment is expected to drop by almost 18 percent.

Within the past two years, freshman enrollment at the University of Missouri has reportedly dropped 35 percent. The expected enrollment numbers will put the school's enrollment at the lowest in nine years.

Faced with even greater declining enrollment numbers, Fox2Now reports one of the proposals to deal with the budget shortfall for the 2017-2018 year is to cut up to 400 jobs. Interim Chancellor Garnett Stokes spoke last week about 12 percent cuts across all departments, including between 350-400 positions.

In addition to cutting jobs, tuition will also be raised for all students. Fox2Now reports the U.M. Board of Curators voted to increase tuition by 2.1 percent at most campuses, while the School of Medicine will reportedly see a six percent increase. Other schools in the system facing hikes above 2.1 percent include the Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla (3 percent) and the St. Louis and Kansas City campuses (at five percent).

Up to seven more dorm buildings will also be closing starting in the fall semester due to the drop in enrollment. The building closures will reportedly save approximately $2 million.

Despite the tuition hikes and job cuts, University of Missouri is hiring a new permanent chancellor, which will be the school’s first since the protests in 2015.

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