Government Relations

UM Legislative Update Newsletter

February 11, 2005

Dr. Elson S. Floyd

University of Missouri System

House Appropriations Education Committee

House Hearing Room #1
9:00 a.m., Tuesday, February 8, 2005
Jefferson City, MO


Remarks

Thank you, Madam Chair, for the opportunity to address the committee on behalf of the University of Missouri.

My foremost goal this year, as it has been during my first two years as president, is to make the University of Missouri affordable, accountable, and accessible to the people of Missouri. Every action that I take as president of the University of Missouri is taken with that goal in mind.

Although the University of Missouri has experienced cuts and extraordinary withholdings in state appropriations for operations totaling nearly $148.5 million between FY2002 and FY2004, faculty and staff have done an excellent job of fulfilling our mission to teach our students, conduct world-class research, provide needed extension services in rural and urban settings, and spur economic development in Missouri.

I would like to cite a few examples to illustrate:

These numbers speak for themselves but clearly the University of Missouri's research faculty is contributing to the economic growth of Missouri in a significant way.

It is important to note that with all of the highlights I have just mentioned, there exists a partnership between the state, the University, the federal government and private individuals that make all of these successes possible. We are not asking any one group to carry us on their shoulders, and that is why I can sit here before you and go through this record of excellence.

I would like to briefly touch on the University's appropriations request.

Like the State of Missouri, the University of Missouri is seeking to strike a balance between its aspirations to be a top tier public research university and the fiscal realities of limited resources and rising costs. The fundamental guiding principle for us must be to continue to be affordable, to maintain the excellence of the University, and to enhance and promote access. Put another way, we must continue to control our costs while we preserve the quality of what we do.

While we have cut expenditures to balance reduced state funding and minimize the need for large increases in educational fees, we must do more. In that context, I have ordered a comprehensive and thorough review of our administrative structure, programs, and mechanisms for service delivery. The decisions we make as a consequence of this review will be consistent with our long-range Strategic Plan.

Highlights of the University's appropriations request for FY2006:

I would like to conclude my remarks by focusing on the subject of educational fees. The University depends on a combination of educational fees and state appropriations to pay for the cost of operations. When state appropriations go down, tuition and fees must go up to maintain operations at the same level. Last year marked the first time in history that state appropriations dropped below tuition and fees as a source of revenue for operations.

Contrary to popular belief, student fee increases during the last three years did not offset reductions in state appropriations. Recent enrollment and fee increases generated only about three-fourths of the $148.5 million in lost state funds that we experienced from FY2002 to FY2004.

In an effort to hold down high tuition increases, I advised the UM Board of Curators in November that I proposed to limit the tuition increase for the next academic year to 3.5 percent. I made this announcement in November to give Missouri families time to plan accordingly.

Last Friday, the Board approved the recommendation to hold next year's tuition increase to 3.5 percent. This increase, which is the lowest in several years, will not cover the rising costs of facilities maintenance, insurance, health care benefits for employees, and other expenses of running a university. While we will have to continue to cut costs just to enable the University to keep pace with inflation, we are committed to trying to protect the quality of our academic programs and research while maintaining an affordable education for the citizens for Missouri.

I believe that we are succeeding in our efforts to be good stewards of the resources entrusted to us. Thank you for your continued support of higher education and the University of Missouri.

Madam Chair, this concludes my remarks. I am prepared to respond to any questions you may have for me.

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