Government Relations

UM Legislative Update Newsletter

January 26, 2007

Governor recommends 4.2 percent increase for UM in State of the State address

Gov. Matt Blunt has recommended that the University of Missouri receive a 4.2 percent core budget increase, or about $17.4 million, for Fiscal Year 2008. In his State of the State address on Wednesday, Jan. 24, Blunt said that "higher education, whether it be in a community college or a four-year institution, is a sound investment that helps to secure a higher quality of life for the next generation." University of Missouri President Elson S. Floyd commended the governor's recommendation. "This continued reinvestment in our colleges and universities will help our state stay competitive and provide the academic quality that is so critical for our citizens to thrive in an evolving global economy," Floyd said. Blunt also discussed the Lewis and Clark Discovery Initiative, which would fund capital projects at each UM campus, and need-based scholarship funding, among other higher education-related issues.

Additional UM funding

Additional UM funding recommended by Blunt includes $1 million for the joint engineering program between UMR and Missouri State University. UMR and MSU each would receive $500,000 in the current year and $1 million to be split next year. Other UM-related programs will be funded at last year’s level, with the exception of the State Historical Society, which would receive a $500,000 increase. The Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders at the School of Health Professions at MU will receive $800,000 of $3.9 million proposed for the early diagnosis and treatment of autism.

The University of Missouri appropriation is a part of HB3, which contains funding for all higher education institutions and programs in the state. The bill will have hearings in the House in the next few weeks before receiving final House approval in mid-March. Senate changes in the bill will be considered by a conference committee in late April or the first few days of May. The final bill must be approved again by both the House and Senate and submitted to the governor.

Scholarships & financial aid

The governor also discussed need-based scholarship funding to "make it easier for Missourians to go to college." He proposed increasing need-based scholarship funding from $27.5 million to more than $72.5 million. An additional $3.4 million would go toward recruiting students into health care professions and forgiving loans for those students preparing to be Missouri doctors, dentists and nurses.

Governance

Blunt called on the Coordinating Board for Higher Education to create performance standards for higher education institutions that would be tied directly to state funding. He also cited a need for tuition to be predictable. "To help the family budget, I propose that only in extraordinary circumstances should the Coordinating Board for Higher Education be able to authorize an exception to this rule: No tuition increase should exceed the rate of inflation," Blunt said.

Capital projects

Blunt stressed the importance of capital projects for Missouri's public higher education institutions. "Every one of our campuses has significant capital improvement needs that, if completed, would help ensure that Missouri students are receiving a world-class education here at home," he said. He called on legislators to act with urgency in approving the Lewis and Clark Discovery Initiative to fund capital projects.

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