A story in the Columbia Missourian is reporting that the University of Missouri will implement a five percent tuition increase across the board for students.

According to the Missourian, students will pay $15.30 more per credit hour for the 2021-2022 school year. Curators voted 8-1 for the increase with David Steelman, the Rolla curator voting "no" because of the amount of state and federal support available right now.

Curator Jeffrey Layman told the Missourian tuition hikes are always a tough vote for him and, "we have to realize the minute this is no longer a value for Missouri students and parents, then I think we have a problem."

The question I have is: when do we cross that threshold? Have we crossed that threshold already? This year tuition at Mizzou is $13, 264 dollars based a student enrolling in 14 credit hours per semester. This according to the Mizzou website. At this rate, a student will pay The University of Missouri $53,056 over the course of four years.

Should it cost a college age kid living in Columbia $53,000 to obtain a degree from his hometown school? What about a college age kid living in Sedalia?  Should a resident of Sedalia or Warrensburg have to pay $33,240 to go to the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg? (Based on average UCM tuition for the 2020-2021 year from U.S. News and World Report cited by UCM.)  And that's before housing, books, food and other fees.

Ever since I started working in college towns, the thought that it can cost kids who live in those towns $30,000, $40,000 or $50,000 dollars to obtain a degree from their hometown university just seems absurd. Really, the thought that these days the cost of  in state tuition can cost anyone $30,000 - $53,000 to obtain a degree seems absurd.

Don't get me wrong, I do think there should be a cost involved in attending college. It shouldn't be free, if for nothing more than to highlight the commitment the student is making to his or her studies. And of course, the practicality that these campuses and educators and staff members and infrastructure all have costs associated with them.

That said, the cost of education shouldn't stop someone from pursuing it if they're interested in it. And with costs around $53,000 a year to go to the University of Missouri and $33,000 to attend UCM, I'd say we're at that point if not way past it.

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