Dustin Steinhoff, Staff Writer

The University of Missouri-St. Louis Budget and Planning Committee Board held a meeting on May 9 where topics regarding the university’s 2018 budget and a 2019-2023 financial plan were discussed, including an increase in tuition and academic programs that will be inactivated or retained.

During UMSL CFO Richard Baniak’s budget presentation, he discussed the university’s budgetary findings for 2018. This included money from scholarships that went unawarded and tuition money gained in the face of declining enrollment. He also showed projections for a decreasing budget deficit in a spending plan spanning from 2019 to 2023.

Afterward, he presented the notion of increasing tuition by 1 percent. This would equal an increase of about $1 million in university funds. Baniak clarified that the tuition increase would not continue over the course of the five year plan, but would rather be a one-time increase.

Student Government Association President Sean Burkett, senior, criminology and criminal justice, stated that the SGA had approved of a tuition increase in tuition of no more than 2 percent and supported the 1 percent increase that was proposed.

After a short discussion period, the notion was put to a vote and was unanimously approved.

UMSL Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Kristin Sobolik spoke next, summarizing the actions being taken with the academic programs that were announced on May 7 in a report posted to the Academic Program Prioritization website. Some of the action items were recommended by the Academic Program Prioritization Committee while others were administrative decisions.

Programs being inactivated included the Theater and Cinema Arts bachelor’s degree and Music Education master’s degree. Some of the programs that the committee recommended inactivating, such as the Communications master’s degree and Anthropology bachelor’s degree, have been retained. The Military and Veterans Studies program will be combined with Sociology, Gerontology and Gender Studies program while the Political Science program will be combined with the Master of Public Policy Administration program. Additionally, the university will be investing in a Social Justice interdisciplinary program, African and African American Studies program, and a multicultural center.

Sobolik stated that all students currently enrolled in programs being deactivated will be able to finish their college career at UMSL and earn their degree. No faculty members will be losing their jobs due to program inactivations as well.

According to Sobolik, the amount of money these inactivations will save the university will initially be small, but will save the university money in the long run from not investing any more money into these programs in the coming years.

These action items were also passed by the committee unanimously.