Government Relations

UM Legislative Update Newsletter

April 14, 2006

House approves HB1865 on public higher education funding

 

The Missouri House of Representatives has passed HB1865, sponsored by Rep. Carl Bearden (R-St. Charles), which changes how the state funds public higher education institutions and enacts a new Access Missouri scholarship. The bill had several amendments added on the floor, and the final version passed by a 84-71 vote on Thursday, April 13, sending the bill to the upper chamber for consideration. In its perfected form, the bill includes language that encourages an increase in operating funds to the FY2002 level, the high-water mark for appropriations. At that point, the new funding mechanism kicks in and higher education institutions would not receive more than a 2.5 percent operating fund increase each year until the scholarship programs (Gallagher and Missouri College Guarantee) are funded at 75 percent (currently these programs are funded at about 25 percent). After a corresponding adjustment in operating funds at that point, the 2.5 percent cap would kick in again until the scholarships are funded at 100 percent. The funding formula then reverts to the way it is currently done. 

The bill also calls for the establishment of “performance measures” for future funding increases and allows for fee-for-service contracts through the Department of Higher Education for high cost or remedial programs.

The bill establishes the Access Missouri scholarship at $1,000 for the freshman year only (an earlier version of the bill ramped it up over a four-year period, but it is now fully funded the first year). Students who do not receive the A+ scholarship would be eligible for this award and could take it to public two- or four-year institutions or private colleges.

House members adopted an amendment that caps the increase in tuition or fees for four-year public institutions at the CPI. The bill also creates a Joint Committee on Higher Education and makes a number of other adjustments in scholarship requirements to make them consistent.

The Senate will take up the measure in these final weeks of session, and additional changes are expected.

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