February 5, 2016

STATE UPDATE:

UM System testifies before House Appropriations Committee

Leaders of the Missouri Department of Higher Education and public institutions testified this week before the House Appropriations Higher Education Committee as the House begins drafting budget plans.  On Wednesday morning, the department provided an overview of the governor’s budget requests for institutions and financial aid programs.  That afternoon, UM System Interim President Michael Middleton and Vice President for Finance Brian Burnett appeared before the committee to update them on several university issues.  Burnett also provided details on several specific questions that were asked of all public institutions related to student debt, textbook costs and enrollment projections.  To see the full handout provided to the committee and reviewed by UM, click here.  The spending panel will develop its plan in the coming week and submit its proposal to the House Select Committee on Budget, which will draft the overall budget plan and will be voted on in the House by early March.

House panel considers bills related to athletics, course transfer, residence hall requirements and meal plans

Several bills of interest to the UM System were heard this week before the House Higher Education Committee.

  • HB 2097, sponsored by Rep. Jason Chipman (R-Steelville), would require public institutions to honor athletic scholarships through graduation for students who are injured. The UM System already complies with this requirement.
  • HB 2234, sponsored by Rep. Dean Dohrman (R-La Monte), would create a web portal that current and potential students could use to see if courses transfer to different institutions.  MU Registrar, Brenda Selman, testified in support of this legislation and was part of a group of UM leaders who helped the sponsor draft the legislation.
  • HB 2098, sponsored by Rep. Chipman, would prohibit universities from requiring that students live on campus. He argued that the living arrangement should be a choice of the student, not a requirement. Currently MU and Missouri S&T have such policies for freshmen, and Frankie Minor, director of Residential Life at MU, testified for informational purposes to explain that research indicates freshman have a much higher success rate when they live on campus.  UMKC and UMSL do not have a residency requirement on campus.
  • HB 2099, also sponsored by Rep. Chipman, would prohibit institutions from requiring students who live on campus to purchase a meal plan. All four UM System campuses currently require some sort of meal plan for students living on campus. The university testified that meal plans are convenient and popular among students and that, in some cases, students who don’t live on campus purchase meal plans as well.  Many residence halls do not have kitchen or cooking space available for student use, making meal preparation in the room difficult.

The committee did not take action on any of the bills.

MU Alumni Association presents Geyer awards to Richard, Erdman

University of Missouri alumni, leaders and supporters gathered Tuesday night in Jefferson City for the annual Geyer Award reception. The legislator award this year was presented to Senate President Pro-Tem Ron Richard (R-Joplin). He was recognized for his many years of work in the House and the Senate to guide key university priorities including bonding plans, 50-50 funding projects and financial aid legislation through the process.  The citizen award was presented to former curator Warren Erdman from Kansas City, who has spearheaded several initiatives to support higher education and the university in recent years and is a key advocate for higher education in the Kansas City area. The awards are presented by the MU Alumni Association and is named after the legislator who sponsored the bill to establish the University of Missouri in 1839. For more information, click here.

Mizzou Alumni Association Executive Director, Todd McCubbin, Senator Ron Richard, Warren Erdman, and MU Interim Chancellor Hank Foley

From left: Mizzou Alumni Association Executive Director, Todd McCubbin, Senator Ron Richard, Warren Erdman, and MU Interim Chancellor Hank Foley

House floor leader tours UMKC Conservatory

As UMKC continues to raise funds to support a downtown arts campus to house its Conservatory of Music and Dance, Rep. Mike Cierpiot (R-Lee’s Summit) visited campus recently to tour the current conservatory facilities and learn more about the downtown plan. Rep. Cierpiot, Majority Floor Leader in the House, met with UMKC Chancellor Leo Morton and learned about the benefits the conservatory would provide to the Kansas City area. UMKC plans to submit the project as a 50-50 public/private match request in the future.

Peter Witte, dean of the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance, Rep. Mike Cierpiot, and UMKC Chancellor Leo Morton discuss the Conservatory space.

From left: Peter Witte, dean of the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance, Rep. Mike Cierpiot, and UMKC Chancellor Leo Morton discuss the Conservatory space.

Columbia representative introduce measure to provide debt relief for students

Representative Kip Kendrick (D- Columbia) held a press conference at MU on Monday to announce a measure aimed at providing students with debt relief. Leaders of the Associated Students of the University of Missouri (ASUM), Graduate Professional Council (GPC), and Missouri Student Association (MSA) were also present to lend support for the Student Debt Relief Act. With the average Missouri college graduate carrying more than $26,500 in student loan debt, HB 2432 would allow graduates the opportunity to consolidate student loans, reduce interest rates, extend the repayment period and cap monthly payments to fifteen percent of discretionary income.

Representative Kip Kendrick at press conference Monday.

Representative Kip Kendrick at press conference Monday

FEDERAL UPDATE:

President Middleton Visits Washington DC 

UM System Interim President Michael Middleton visited Washington, DC this week to meet with national higher education leaders, Obama Administration officials, and members of the Missouri congressional delegation, to provide an update on the UM System. During the visit, Middleton addressed the Higher Education Washington Secretariat, a group of leadership from national higher education associations and convened by the American Council on Education (ACE), to talk about the UM System’s diversity initiatives.  He also met with Ted Mitchell, undersecretary at the U.S. Department of Education and James Kvaal, deputy director of the Domestic Policy Council at the White House to discuss how the UM System can engage in the national dialogue regarding diversity in higher education.  Middleton also met with Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO), Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO/4th) and the Office of Rep. Lacy Clay (D-MO/1st).

U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill and UM Interim President Michael Middleton

From left: U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill and UM Interim President Michael Middleton

U.S. Senator Roy Blunt and UM Interim President Michael Middleton

From left: U.S. Senator Roy Blunt and UM Interim President Michael Middleton

U.S. Representative Vicky Hartzler and UM Interim President Michael Middleton

From left: U.S. Representative Vicky Hartzler and UM Interim President Michael Middleton

UM Interim President Michael Middleton and Vice President of University Relations Steve Knorr pictured in front of the White House

From left: UM Interim President Michael Middleton and Vice President of University Relations Steve Knorr pictured in front of the White House

MU Small Business Technology and Development Center in DC 

This week, Chris Bouchard and Greg Tucker, director and associate director of the Missouri Small Business Technology and Development Center, were in Washington, DC for the America’s Small Business Development Center Spring Conference. They met with staff in the Missouri Congressional offices to discuss the importance of funding for the Small Business Association and the important work that the Missouri Small Business Technology and Development Center has accomplished throughout the state.

MU College of Education visit Capitol Hill to advocate for special education funding 

Cathy Thomas, associate professor in the Department of Special Education at the University of Missouri-Columbia College of Education, and Jen McKenzie, a doctoral student at the University of Missouri-Columbia College of Education, attended the Higher Education Consortium for Special Education (HECSE) conference in Washington, DC. They also met with staff in the Missouri Congressional offices to discuss the importance of funding for education research, like the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER), and grant opportunities through the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP).

UPCOMING EVENTS AND IMPORTANT DATES:

February 9 – President Obama releases fiscal year 2017 budget request

February 17 – UM testimony before the Joint Committee on Education

March 2 – University of Missouri System State Legislative Day

March 15 – UM Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol

March 18-28 – Legislative Spring Break

May 6 – Appropriation Bills must be Truly Agreed and Finally Passed

May 13 – Last day of Session

June 21-23 – UM System Washington, DC visit and reception

July 18-September 6 – U.S. House and Senate Summer Recess

November 8 – Election Day

December 19 – Target adjournment for the 114th U.S. Congress