HANNIBAL -- Hannibal-LaGrange University students -- and their parents -- can expect to pay more to attend the Baptist-affiliated institution next fall.
Meeting on campus Nov. 19, HLGU trustees approved a 6 percent hike in tuition, from the current average annual cost of $15,266 to $16,182.
The university's tuition rate stands lower than that of most comparable institutions, Dean of Business and Finance Betty Anderson explained. Southwest Baptist University's tuition is at $17,400 annually, with a 4.5 percent increase expected for 2010-2011. At its current rate of $17,220 per annum, Oklahoma Baptist University plans a 3 percent hike, she added.
HLGU President Woodrow Burt noted that state-supported schools likely would increase tuition rates by double digits, pending the governor's approval. Anderson acknowledged the university is operating at a deficit, necessitating the tuition hike.
In other action, a committee will review the university's crisis management plan in light of a truck accident during a mission trip in Haiti earlier this year in which students and sponsors were injured. Trustee Mark Boley asked for a "clear policy" to help the institution and board members to "be better prepared to handle" situations and be prepared for questions.
Burt emphasized that a policy is already in place to address the media and contact family members. Public Relations Director Rhonda Hufty noted the greatest challenge during the Haiti incident was "to get ahead of the misinformation that didn't come from Hannibal-LaGrange." Either Burt or the person directly responsible for a particular project takes the lead in communicating about that event, Hufty said.
University administrators will work with the committee, Burt said. "In the process we may discover something that needs to be tweaked," he added.
Trustees named officers for 2011, including Terry Buster as chairman, Charles Brazeale as vice-chairman, Vinita Henry as secretary and Jerry Sheridan as treasurer.
Board members affirmed the action of messengers to the Missouri Baptist Convention annual meeting in October to change the institution's name. Trustees had approved the name to be changed from Hannibal-LaGrange College to the University of Hannibal once university status had been reached. MBC messengers instead successfully voted to keep the name, simply substituting "university" for "college."
Trustees also agreed to allow Buster to develop a handbook for board members, and approved changing the site for the proposed new library from near the sports complex to the east side of the front drive.