Government Relations

UM Legislative Update Newsletter

October 28, 2005

Interim Committee conducts second hearing on higher education funding models

The Interim Committee on Student-Based Higher Education Funding Models conducted its second of four hearings Oct. 20 at Three Rivers Community College in Poplar Bluff. The committee was formed to review the concept of changing Missouri’s higher education funding method to include a student-based funding component as well as financial aid programs. Chaired by Rep. Carl Bearden (R-St. Charles), the committee is reviewing many aspects of HB742, a bill introduced by Bearden last session that would bring funding for higher education back to FY02 levels and then create a new student-based formula for allocating additional dollars to institutions. Much of the legislation is modeled after changes that Colorado recently made to its higher education system.

Bearden began the second hearing by indicating he planned to develop an updated version of the concept of HB742 for next session, and that it would include a component that reflected a student-based funding formula. He also indicated that the state’s financial aid programs need to be updated and simplified and he planned to include some changes in those programs in the legislation as well. He distributed an update from the Colorado Commission on Higher Education that outlined details of the plan as implemented there, including student stipends and fee-for-service contracts. To see the Colorado update, click here.

The committee then heard from Paul Lingenfelter, president of the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO) organization, who outlined how the U.S. is falling behind other nations in levels of education and that we must do better with participation in our education system. He agreed that higher education must be more focused on accountability, but he said the state should provide the broad context within which higher education operates, and leave the detailed work to the institutions. He provided statistics showing the way Missouri compares to other states in education, income, taxation and other measures. Missouri is a low tax state with income levels that are slightly below average. Missourians who have a four-year degree do not see that reflected in increased wages to the level that nearly all other states do. He also showed how, like most states, Missouri had seen high tuition increases following years with reduced state funding. To see the SHEEO PowerPoint presentation, click here.

The final presentation was made by Terry Barnes, president of the Missouri Community College Association, who relayed an overview of how the community colleges fit into the higher education spectrum and how funding decisions are made within that group.

The next committee meeting will be Friday, Nov. 4 at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar.

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