House approves higher education budget

Greg Steinhoff, Sen. Gary Nodler and Rep. Gayle Kingery at a press conference to discuss the new capital projects list as part of the Lewis & Clark Discovery Initiative.

On Thursday, March 29, the House third read and finally passed HB3, which provides a 4.2 percent increase, or about $17.4 million, for the University of Missouri’s core budget for Fiscal Year 2008. This would be the first operating budget increase above inflation for the University since FY2001. The budget also includes $500,000 for a cooperative engineering program between the University of Missouri-Rolla and Missouri State University for FY08. The governor’s amendment on HB19, which is the maintenance, repair and construction bill, also includes $500,000 for development needed in order to start the cooperative program.

The Senate will now begin work on the spending bills, with mark-up set to start Tuesday, April 3, before the Senate Appropriations Committee. All work on the operating budget must be completed by May 11.

icon question markState relations

Senate Education Committee hears education reform bills

The Senate Education Committee took up several bills at its Wednesday, March 28, hearing relating to education reform in Missouri’s urban communities. The bills focused on improving urban education in the state. [Read more…]

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icon question markCampus highlights

UMR Chancellor Jack Carney introduces Gov. Matt Blunt at a press conference on Access Missouri at UMR.
UMR Chancellor Jack Carney introduces Gov. Matt Blunt at a press conference on Access Missouri at UMR.
Gov. Blunt visits UM campuses to discuss Access Missouri Scholarship Program

Gov. Matt Blunt visited the University of Missouri-Rolla on Thursday, March 22, and the University of Missouri-Columbia on Friday, March 23, to discuss the Access Missouri Scholarship Program, which is part of the omnibus higher education bill SB389. Under the budget that is being considered by lawmakers, need-based aid funding would increase to $72 million next year. The Access Missouri Scholarship would provide 50 percent of those funds for students at public institutions and 50 percent to students at private schools. Students at private institutions currently receive more than 63 percent of state need-based aid. The new need-based program also is estimated to increase the number of University of Missouri students receiving aid from approximately 2,785 to 9,884.

Blunt’s stops at MU and UMR were part of a three-day tour that included Harris Stowe, Truman State, Missouri Western State, Metropolitan Community College-Penn Valley, Missouri State, Missouri Southern State and Southeast Missouri State.

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icon question markLegislator profile

Kevin Engler
Sen. Kevin Engler (R-Farmington)

Sen. Kevin Engler (R-Farmington) was elected to the Senate in 2004 to represent District 3, which includes Carter, Reynolds, Iron, Washington, St. Francois, Ste. Genevieve and South Jefferson counties. The University of Missouri has a significant impact in Engler’s district through extension. “The University of Missouri’s Extension Center in St. Francois County includes the Mississippi River Hills, creating tourism in Jefferson County, Ste. Genevieve, and St. Francois,” Engler said. [Read more…]

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icon question markFederal update

U.S. Department of Education announces new policies and recommendations for higher education

U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings held an Education Transformation Summit Thursday, March 22, in Washington, D.C., to discuss recommendations by the Commission on the Future of Higher Education with higher education stakeholders. The commission’s recommendations fall into three categories: access, affordability and accountability. Last week Spellings also announced the creation of the FAFSA4caster, an online tool that instantly calculates a student’s eligibility for federal student aid. The tool, which will be available April 1, should reduce the time it will take to complete the free application for federal student aid (FAFSA) and simplify the financial aid process for students and families. The U.S. House of Representatives also introduced H.R.1608, the “College Aid Made EZ Act,” designed to simplify the federal student aid application process.

Spellings also released the Department of Education’s new proposals for regulatory changes for the accreditation process for higher education institutions. The draft language would provide three options for measuring institutions’ success in educating students. It would require accrediting agencies to prohibit the colleges they monitor from making decisions regarding the transfer of academic credits from another institution based on the accreditation status of the sending institution or program. These proposed rules are being considered this week by a federal panel of representatives of regional and professional accrediting agencies and college officials.

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