Government Relations

UM Legislative Update Newsletter

November 11, 2005

Higher education funding subcommittee hears from independent sector

The House Interim Committee on Student-Based Funding Formula Models conducted its third of four hearings on Friday, Nov. 4, 2005, at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, where committee members heard from representatives of the independent higher education sector. Committee chairman Rep. Carl Bearden (R-St. Charles) said he planned to circulate a draft of a committee report by Dec. 1, with a goal of having the committee meet Dec. 12 for final approval of the group’s findings.

Although Bearden has indicated he plans to file an updated version of HB742 from last year, he stressed to the panel that the interim committee report will not include any proposed legislation or legislative goals, but instead will be a review of materials and testimony presented to the committee over the course of its hearings.

Dr. Pat Taylor, president of SBU, and Rose Windmiller of Washington University provided information about the scope and makeup of independent institutions in Missouri. The committee then heard from Jocelyn Strand, of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, who reviewed the A+ scholarship program and answered questions about how it was established and how it operates. Taylor later provided an overview to emphasize that he and many other institution leaders believe the A+ program unfairly steers students to two-year schools when, in fact, many of them should be at a four-year institutions. He encouraged the committee to consider making the A+ scholarship a “voucher” that the student could take to any institution – public or private.

The committee also heard from Dr. Michael Nietzel, president of Missouri State University. Nietzel reviewed the National Report Card on Higher Education and how Missouri measured up in several categories. He then provided an overview of how Kentucky overhauled its funding formula and higher education structure several years ago.

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