Government Relations

UM Legislative Update Newsletter

February 2, 2007

Senate Interim Committee releases report with recommendations to improve higher education

 

The Senate Interim Committee on the Cost of a College Education, which was formed over the summer to conduct hearings and gather input regarding several issues in higher education, released a final report Friday, Jan. 26, that included a set of recommendations.  Chaired by Sen. Gary Nodler (R-Joplin), the report addressed issues such as governance, financial aid and scholarships, funding and partnerships among institutions. Other members of the committee were Sen. Scott Rupp (R-Wentzville); Sen. Charlie Shields (R-St. Joseph); Sen. Frank Barnitz (D-Lake Spring); and Sen. Chuck Graham (D-Columbia). Many of the report’s recommendations have been incorporated in SB389, the omnibus higher education bill introduced by Nodler.

The findings and recommendations listed in the report include:

  1. Strengthen the powers of the Commissioner of Higher Education and the Coordinating Board for Higher Education.
  2. Elevate the higher education budget to the fiscal year 2002 high-water mark at a minimum, as there exists a direct link between state aid and tuition rates.
  3. As a condition of the aforementioned appropriation increase, institutions shall not raise tuition above the CPI and also must control the increasing cost of administration.
  4. Continue research regarding the establishment of a higher education funding formula that reflects the unique characteristics of each institution. Performance funding, capital funding, critical-needs funding, full-time enrollment funding, and the level of the student being educated are among the various criteria that must be considered in any new funding system.
  5. Adopt the Coordinating Board for Higher Education’s State Student Financial Aid Committee’s finalized proposal for the combination of the Gallagher Grant program and the Missouri College Guarantee program into one new need-based student aid program, which is designed to be sensitive to a student’s ability to pay college costs and the type of institution the student chooses to attend.
  6. Strengthen the quality of high school education in order to discontinue the ongoing trend of higher education institutions having to provide intense remediation in basic subject areas.
  7. Promote and expand the accessibility of the state’s 529-plan (MOST), including the establishment of a fund in order to provide matching grants as incentives for plan participation.
  8. Encourage and perhaps mandate more partnerships between two-year and four-year higher education institutions.
  9. Institute a prospective Engineering Student Loan Forgiveness Award.
  10. Institute a Math and Science Teacher Early-Career Loan Forgiveness Award.

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