April 30, 2010

State relations

Fiscal Year 2011 budget passed

The Budget Conference Committee finished its work more than a week before the constitutionally required May 7 deadline, and Fiscal Year 2011 appropriations bills have been sent to the governor for his signature. Per their agreement with the governor, all public higher education institutions will receive a 5.2 percent reduction to their core budgets in exchange for keeping in-state, undergraduate tuition flat for the next school year.

All UM-related items, including Telehealth and MOREnet, received percentage reductions to their budgets. Additionally, funding for the Access Missouri Scholarship Program was reduced by $13 million. The bills must be signed by the governor by June 30, the end of the current fiscal year. The governor has line-item veto and withholding authority on all appropriations bills.

In other appropriations news, HB2016, the supplemental re-appropriations bill, was passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee April 29. The committee adopted an amendment to remove the $31 million added by the House for Ellis Fischel Cancer Center. Some members of the committee voiced their support for the cancer center; however, a majority of committee members decided against redirecting funds designated for transportation purposes. The removal of the $31 million in Senate committee would allow the bill to go to conference to resolve the differences with the House, but the bill must pass the Senate floor before this becomes an option. Sen. Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia) was the only member to vote in favor of the proposed funding.

Senate Education Committee considers Access Missouri legislation

The Senate Education Committee heard HB1473 April 28. The bill includes components of an agreement reached by the state’s public and private two- and four-year institutions to equalize Access Missouri Scholarship awards beginning in 2014. It also reduces the GPA requirement for renewal of the scholarship from 2.5 to 2.0 for the first 60 credit hours. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Mike Thomson (R-Maryville), was passed by the House last week, and is one of four bills that includes identical Access Missouri language necessary to make the changes.

Currently, students attending private institutions can receive up to $4,600 in awards, while awards are capped at $2,150 and $1,000 for those attending public four-year institutions and community colleges, respectively. The new legislation equalizes awards for four-year students at $2,850, regardless of whether they attend a public or private institution. It also increases the community-college award to $1,300. The bill would leave current award levels in place until the fall of 2014.

Among those organizations testifying in support of the bill were the Council on Public Higher Education, the Missouri Community College Association, the Independent Colleges and Universities of Missouri, and the Associated Students of the University of Missouri. The committee did not vote on the bill.

Undergraduates present research at the Capitol

More than 40 undergraduate students from across the UM system visited with legislators and staffers during Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol April 29. Students displayed posters outlining their research and provided summaries to legislators from their hometowns. The group also was introduced before the House and the Senate.

This annual event is organized to showcase the unique research opportunities available to undergraduates at UM. Research topics included: autism, charter schools, math education, plant sciences, biofuels, and the engineering of roads and bridges.

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Rep. Jeff Roorda (D-Barnhart) listens as MU student Ben Christ, from Imperial, Mo., shares his findings related to migrant bird species.

Click here to view additional photos from the event.

Mizzou gymnastics team honored in House, Senate

Members of the Mizzou Women’s Gymnastics Team toured the Capitol and were recognized before the House and Senate April 28. The team completed its most successful season in history, advancing to the NCAA Women’s Collegiate National Championships, and ending the season ranked No. 12 nationally.

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Members of the Mizzou Women’s Gymnastics Team and their coaches pose at the State Capitol with Sen. Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia) and Rep. Mary Still (D-Columbia).

University, public officials gather to break ground on plant science center in Mexico, Mo.

U.S. Sen. Kit Bond, Gov. Jay Nixon, and University of Missouri System President Gary Forsee were among the dignitaries on hand April 26 to break ground on the Missouri Plant Science Center in Mexico, Mo. The 25,000-square-foot facility will house wet and dry laboratories, office space, and manufacturing equipment to process soybeans and other plant-based material into value-added products. The Center was funded through state support, Community Development Block Grants from the Missouri Department of Economic Development, and support from the Missouri Technology Corporation, the University of Missouri System and the city of Mexico.

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Sen. Kit Bond discusses the importance of collaboration during groundbreaking ceremonies for the Missouri Plant Science Center in Mexico.

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Gov. Jay Nixon emphasizes how research can lead to quality jobs for Missourians.

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Officials prepare to break ground on the Plant Science Center. From left, Jason Hall, director, Missouri Technology Center; Jon Hagler, director, Missouri Department of Agriculture; Rep. Steve Hobbs (R-Mexico); Gary Forsee, president, UM System; U.S. Senator Kit Bond; Gov. Jay Nixon; Sen. Wes Shoemyer (D-Clarence); Ron Loesch, mayor, city of Mexico; Joe Bannister, chair, Missouri Technology Corporation.

Click here to view a press release on the groundbreaking from the governor’s office.

To view a video clip of Gov. Nixon’s remarks, click here.

To view a video clip of Sen. Bond’s remarks, click here.

To view a video clip of President Forsee’s remarks, click here.

Federal relations

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Representatives from UM Extension attended the annual Public Interest Legislative Day Conference in Washington, D.C. The twelve-member group met with the entire Missouri delegation, and posed for a photograph with U.S. Sen. Kit Bond.

April 23, 2010

State relations

Conference committee finalizes higher education budget

The conference committee negotiating House and Senate differences in the Fiscal Year 2011 budget finalized its recommendations for HB2003, the higher education appropriations bill, April 22. The committee decided against approval of the additional $7.5 million appropriated to the Bright Flight program, which would have allowed an expansion of scholarships to students in the top fourth and fifth percentile of standardized test-takers. The program will continue to award students in the top three percent, and will only fund awards to students in the fourth and fifth percentile if additional funds are available. The committee also decreased the Access Missouri Scholarship Program by $13 million, which is $1.3 million less than the amount the governor withheld from the program during the current fiscal year.

The core operating budgets of all higher education institutions were not conference items, since the Senate agreed with the House’s 5.2-percent reduction to each institution. In non-core items, the University of Missouri–related appropriations differed between the House and Senate, and the conference committee agreed to take the Senate’s position on all but one line item; the State Historical Society was approved at the House recommendation, which mirrored the governor’s recommendation.

A 10 percent reduction from the governor’s recommendation was approved for Telemedicine, University Hospitals and Clinics, Missouri Rehabilitation Center and the Missouri Kidney Program. The Missouri Institute of Mental Health received a 50 percent reduction from the governor’s recommendation. MOREnet was reduced to the level at which it is currently being funded in FY10, including all withholdings that have occurred. Finally, the new line item funding the joint UMKC-MSU pharmacy program for $2 million was removed from the budget.

After all conference items have been decided, the bills must receive one more vote in each chamber before moving to the governor.

In related news, the governor’s Office of Administration announced $45 million in additional expenditure restrictions on the same day the conference committee began its deliberations. Actual revenue collections continued to fall below projections and, as of April 20, state collections were down 19 percent. The only restriction related to higher education was an additional $1.3 million reduction to the Access Missouri Scholarship Program. The restrictions bring the total reduction for FY10 to more than $900 million.

Click here to view the restriction chart.

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Sen. Kurt Schaefer (right) updates the Mizzou Alumni Association Board of Directors on his successful efforts to restore some of the funding to higher education’s operating appropriation that had been cut by the Senate earlier in the legislative process. Schaefer and Rep. Chris Kelly met with the board April 16 in Columbia.

Senate passes department consolidation resolutions

The Senate gave approval to two joint resolutions sponsored by Sen. Charlie Shields (R-St. Joseph) that enable the consolidation of certain state departments. Both resolutions are constitutional amendments that would require voter approval before becoming law. SJR44, which has now moved to the House, creates the Department of Education and eliminates the Departments of Elementary and Secondary Education and Higher Education and the Coordinating Board for Higher Education. SJR45, which went through a number of revisions before passing, would allow the new State Board of Education to oversee elementary and secondary public schools and coordinate public higher education. The resolution outlines the board’s makeup and terms, and requires the Senate’s advice and consent on the appointment of a commissioner of education. SJR45 requires one more vote in the Senate before moving to the House.

House passes bill to equalize Access Missouri scholarships

The House perfected and passed HB1473, a bill that equalizes Access Missouri scholarship award levels at $2,850 for students at both public and private four-year colleges and universities beginning in 2014. The bill also increases the award for students at community colleges to $1,300. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Mike Thomson (R-Maryville), also lowers the required GPA for renewal of the award from 2.5 to 2.0 for the first 60 credit hours, at which point it returns to 2.5.

Currently, students attending private institutions can receive up to $4,600 in Access awards, while those at public institutions are limited to $2,150 and those at community colleges are limited to $1,000. Public institutions have been seeking an equalized award in light of the recent state budget cuts that have placed a particular strain on state colleges and universities. Gov. Jay Nixon also has suggested the possibility of cutting all state funding for private student scholarships.

Leaders of these three sectors gathered earlier this year to forge an agreement to place four-year awards at $2,850 and two-year awards at a maximum of $1,300. The House legislation, and similar language found in SB733 and HB1812, reflects the recent agreement of the sectors.

The bill, which passed 145 to 10, must now be considered by the Senate Education Committee and adopted by the full Senate before the end of the legislative session May 14.

Higher education leaders meet with governor to discuss tax credits

Gov. Jay Nixon met with leaders of Missouri’s elementary, secondary and higher education institutions April 21 to review the state’s deteriorating budget numbers and discuss the impact of tax credits on the amount of funding available to support all levels of education.

University of Missouri System President Gary Forsee was among education leaders who spoke at the press conference. To view video from the press conference, click here.

Boone County legislative delegation reviews University Hospital budget items

Several members of the Boone County legislative delegation gathered at University Hospital April 19 to review two developments related to the Fiscal Year 2011 budget under consideration by lawmakers. Sen. Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia) announced that he had worked to secure funding to support smoking- cessation research through federal stimulus funds as part of HB2011.

Reps. Chris Kelly (D-Columbia), Mary Still (D-Columbia), Stephen Webber (D-Columbia) and Paul Quinn (D-Monroe City) also appeared to encourage support for both that program and HB2016, which includes a re-appropriation of $31 million for the Ellis Fischel Cancer Center in Columbia.

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Rep. Chris Kelly discusses chances of providing funding for Ellis Fischel Cancer Center in the FY11 budget.

House panel passes Bright Flight clarification bill, defeats amendment on student curator

The House Higher Education Committee took action on two bills of interest to the University of Missouri System. SB733, sponsored by Sen. David Pearce (R-Warrensburg), would clarify allocation of Bright Flight scholarship awards, and now includes the agreement reached on equalizing the Access Missouri scholarships among students at public and private institutions. The committee passed its substitute version of the bill April 20, and it was later adopted by the Rules Committee and placed on the calendar.

The committee also heard SB987, sponsored by Sen. Bill Stouffer (R-Napton), which increases the award amounts available through the state’s Spinal Cord Injury Fund, administered by UM. The substitute, later adopted by the committee, included provisions sought by UM to allow certain records and documents shared in potential joint-venture partnerships with private entities to remain closed records. During committee consideration, an amendment was offered and defeated five to six that would have added language related to the governor’s selection of members of the University of Missouri Board of Curators. The amendment, offered by Rep. Jill Schupp (D-St. Louis), would have specified that one of the appointments “may” be a student.

SB987 has been adopted by the House Rules Committee and placed on the House calendar.

Legislators honored as part of Graduate Education Week in Missouri

The MU Graduate Professional Council celebrated Graduate Education Week in Missouri with a proclamation from Gov. Jay Nixon and a reception April 22 at the Bond Life Sciences Center honoring several lawmakers who have been supportive of higher education. Honorees included: Sen. Charlie Shields (R-St. Joseph), Sen. Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia), Sen. Yvonne Wilson (D-Kansas City), Rep. Gayle Kingery (R-Poplar Bluff), Rep. Sara Lampe (D-Springfield) and Rep. Rebecca McClanahan (D-Kirksville). Sarah Symonds, GPC president, and Jeff McMullan, GPC state issues coordinator, presented the awards.

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Honorees and officers present for the Graduate Professional Week Awards included (from left): Jeff McMullan, Sen. Kurt Schaefer, Rep. Rebecca McClahanan, Rep. Gayle Kingery, Rep. Sara Lampe, Yvonne Chamberlain (granddaughter of Senator Yvonne Wilson) and Sarah Symonds.

April 16, 2010

State relations

Senate restores $14.7 million cut in higher education budget

The full Senate debated and passed the Fiscal Year 2011 appropriations bills April 14. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Sen. Rob Mayer (R-Dexter) introduced a floor substitute for HB2003, the higher education appropriations bill, that would restore the $14.7 million removed from the higher education operating core by the committee last week. The restoration would be funded by a proposed managed care provider tax, which will allow the state to draw down additional federal matching funds.

By passing the floor substitute with funding for higher education institutions equal to that passed by the House, the institutions’ agreement with the governor for a 5.2 percent cut in exchange for no tuition increase for undergraduate in-state students stands. The item will still go to a conference committee of House and Senate members, but only for the purpose of finalizing the funding source for the $14.7 million.

All of the UM-related items, including the Missouri Kidney Program and Telehealth, will go to conference to determine whether they will receive the higher funding levels passed by the House or the additional cuts approved by the Senate. Differing amounts appropriated for the Bright Flight and Access Missouri scholarship programs will also be among the conference items.

All appropriations bills must be finally passed by May 7.

House bill reauthorizes possible funding for Ellis Fischel

The House Budget Committee approved HB2016 April 15. A supplemental appropriations bill, HB2016 includes a reauthorization of the $31 million for Ellis Fischel Cancer Center. The committee’s approval signifies the first step, and the bill will now go to the full House for debate and approval. The Senate will also have the opportunity to review and revise the bill. The governor will have final funding authority.

Study of state health insurance consolidation added to Senate bill

The Senate perfected SB1057, sponsored by Sen. Charlie Shields (R-St. Joseph), April 13. The bill proposes reorganization within certain state departments and the merging of certain state entities in an attempt to achieve cost savings for the state. It requires one more vote in the Senate, and will then move to the House.

Through a floor amendment, Sen. Joan Bray (D-St. Louis) added SB712, which proposes a study of the possible consolidation of state health insurance programs, including the University of Missouri System’s plan. A report to the General Assembly would be required and could ultimately result in the consolidation of the UM plan with the state’s Missouri Consolidated Health Care Plan. The university expressed its opposition to this proposal during a Senate committee hearing in February and estimated that passage of the bill could result in an increase in the cost of the UM medical plan from $55 million to $62 million annually.

During a subsequent hearing in March, senators made a motion to pass the bill out of committee. The motion failed and the bill was not allowed to advance to the full Senate for debate. The university continues to oppose this legislation and will advocate for its removal from SB1057.

Bills advance to reorganize state government

Two bills that would modify the organization of state departments, including the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and the Missouri Department of Higher Education (MDHE), are on the Senate perfection calendar awaiting debate. SJR44, sponsored by Sen. Charlie Shields (R-St. Joseph), would place a constitutional amendment on the Nov. 2010 ballot, which, if approved by voters, would eliminate each of the current constitutionally mandated departments within the executive branch. SJR45, also sponsored by Sen. Shields, modifies the State Board of Education. Currently, the state board oversees only the state’s public elementary and secondary schools. This resolution would grant the board supervision of instruction of the entire public education system, including higher education. The bills are part of an effort by the governor and the General Assembly to achieve cost savings by reorganizing portions of state government.

House Higher Education Committee hears bill to clarify Bright Flight allocations

Representatives from the University of Missouri System and the Associated Students of the University of Missouri (ASUM) were among those who testified before the House Higher Education Committee April 14 in support of legislation that clarifies the allocation of Bright Flight scholarship awards.

SB733, sponsored by Sen. David Pearce (R-Warrensburg), would clarify that the Department of Higher Education must fund the students in the top three percent of standardized test takers first, up to the statutory limit of $3,000 per year; then if funds are available, those students in the fourth or fifth percentile could receive up to $1,000. The program was to be expanded in the coming school year to include the higher awards and larger pool of eligible students as a result of legislation passed in 2007, but lawmakers did not have sufficient funding for that appropriation. This created a question of how the dollars would be prioritized, which is answered in SB733.

The bill also clarifies eligibility for students who are called into military service, and allows those who are home-schooled or receive a GED to be eligible for consideration of the awards. The committee is scheduled to vote on the bill next week.

Federal relations

MU seniors present research at Capitol Hill

University of Missouri seniors Christine O’Brien and Kyle Ervin were selected from a group of 500 students to participate in the prestigious Posters on the Hill session sponsored by the Council on Undergraduate Research. They were invited to present their research to members of Congress, as well as meet with the Missouri Congressional Delegation.

O’Brien, who is from St. Louis, is a biological chemistry major and has been researching melanoma under the guidance of John Viator, Ph.D., for the past two years. She has presented her research during MU’s Life Sciences Week and the Missouri Nano Frontiers Conference. She also presented her work in San Francisco this past January at the SPIE Photonics West conference. She is currently applying to graduate schools.

Ervin is a native of Festus, Mo., and a civil engineering major. His research relates to road safety and the testing of portable “rumble strips” that alert drivers as they approach road work zones by creating audible and vibratory sensations. Along with his professor, Carlos Sun, Ph.D., he is seeking to determine if the rumble strips are effective and how they should be placed on the road. The strips are temporary and easily moved, which makes them inexpensive and efficient to use, Ervin noted. Following graduation this May, he plans to work for HNTB in Kansas City designing airports.

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O’Brien with Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO).

View additional photos.

April 9, 2010

Governor speaks at UMKC, MU; cites ways to reduce state government

Gov. Jay Nixon stopped at University of Missouri System campuses in Kansas City and Columbia this week to speak to campus and community leaders about the current state of Missouri’s economy and the need to streamline state government in light of increasing revenue shortfalls.

Nixon visited the University of Missouri-Kansas City April 6, where he outlined proposals to eliminate additional state positions, combine the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Department of Higher Education, eliminate leased state space, and place additional restrictions on travel. UMKC Chancellor Leo Morton was on hand to introduce the governor.

Nixon also stopped in Columbia to deliver a similar message at the Reynolds Alumni Center April 7, where he was introduced by MU Chancellor Brady Deaton. The governor encouraged the Legislature to support his agreement with higher education institutions to hold this year’s core cuts at 5.2 percent in exchange for no tuition increases next year for in-state undergraduates. The House supported that plan, but the Senate Appropriations Committee has agreed to deeper cuts. Nixon also announced support for legislation backed by UM to equalize the Access Missouri scholarship awards for students attending public and private institutions.

Click here to see coverage of the governor’s visit to Columbia and a copy of his prepared remarks.

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Gov. Nixon addresses a group of campus and community leaders at MU April 7. To his right are MU Chancellor Brady Deaton and State Economic Development Director David Kerr.

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Gov. Nixon answers questions from reporters at the MU press conference April 7.

Legislation to reduce size of state government, redefine role of education board moving through Senate

Two bills designed to begin the process of shrinking state government and streamlining the role of the state’s education board are working their way through the Senate. SB1057, introduced by Sen. Charlie Shields (R-St. Joseph), would charge the Office of Administration with issuing a report to lawmakers by the end of 2010 that provides suggestions for departments that could be eliminated, reduced or combined with other programs. Department directors would be instructed to provide the office with details about efficiencies that could be made, program eliminations or reductions that could be considered, in addition to a plan for reducing expenditures by five to 25 percent. The Senate General Laws Committee heard and passed the bill April 7. It is now on the Senate calendar for debate.

Sen. Shields also introduced SJR45, a resolution that would place a constitutional amendment to redefine the role of the state board of education on the November statewide ballot. The resolution would give the board a greater supervisory role over the entire state education system. It also calls for one board member to have a background in higher education, one in elementary and secondary education, and one in early childhood education. The number of board members would equal the number of congressional districts in the state.

Budget bills set for debate on Senate floor

The Senate Appropriations committee, chaired by Sen. Rob Mayer (R-Dexter), voted the 13 Fiscal Year 2011 budget bills out of committee April 8. Working from the House versions, the committee made additional reductions to various departments and programs to contend with a projected $500 million gap in revenue collections. Additionally, a number of changes were made to the higher education appropriations bill, HB2003. Final decisions about the bill will be reserved for a House and Senate conference committee.

An additional $14.8 million was proportionally cut from all two- and four-year institutions’ core budgets, reducing their appropriations to the minimum amount allowed under federal stabilization fund “maintenance of effort” rules. The Senate also removed the $2 million added by the House for the UMKC-Missouri State University joint pharmacy program. University-related programs, which include University Hospital, Missouri Rehabilitation Center, the Missouri Kidney Program, the Missouri Telehealth Network and the State Historical Society, were reduced from Gov. Nixon’s recommended levels by 10 percent. Reverting to Nixon’s recommendation means that the increases awarded by the House to certain programs will not be reflected in the Senate’s recommendation. The committee also agreed to cut funding to MOREnet by 49 percent and funding to the Missouri Institute of Mental Health by 50 percent. All of these items will be reconciled in conference committee.

Additionally, the Senate removed the House’s $7.5 million increase to the Bright Flight scholarship program and cut an additional $6.5 million from the Access Missouri scholarship program, bringing the total recommended reduction to $13 million. Finally, the committee approved Nixon’s recommendation to consolidate all state innovation centers, the Missouri Manufacturing Extension Partnership and MoFAST under the umbrella of the Missouri Technology Corporation, with a recommended $1.3 million appropriation within the economic development appropriations bill, HB2007.

The bills will be debated by the full Senate next week.

April 2, 2010

State relations

Fiscal Year 2011 budget bills move to Senate

The Senate Appropriations committee, chaired by Sen. Rob Mayer (R-Dexter), has begun reviewing and amending the Fiscal Year 2011 budget bills. The committee considered HB2003, the higher education appropriation bill, with many sections remaining “open” for further consideration. A conference committee composed of select House and Senate members will ultimately negotiate any changes made between the House and Senate versions of the bills.

No final decisions were made on any of the two-year or four-year institutions’ core budgets; however, the committee intends to reduce funding by an additional $14 million, proportionate among all institutions. Since the state has elected to use federal stabilization funds to supplement general revenue in the higher education budget, it is required to remain within certain parameters and is prohibited from a reduction greater than $14 million. The result would be a reduction in funding to higher education institutions of approximately seven percent. Should the conference committee decide to adopt the additional reductions, the agreement with the governor for a 5.2 percent reduction in exchange for no tuition increase for in-state, undergraduate students would no longer be applicable and institutions could raise tuition.

The committee also decided to leave university-related categories, including Telehealth and MOREnet, open for further discussion. In addition, the committee decided not to retain the $2 million added by the House for a joint University of Missouri-Kansas City/Missouri State University pharmacy program.

Finally, the committee removed $7.5 million added by the House for Bright Flight scholarships and $6.5 million from the Access Missouri scholarship fund, bringing the total House and Senate reduction for Access Missouri to $13 million.

All FY11 appropriations bills must be passed by May 7.

Senate passes bill to clarify Bright Flight scholarship allocations

The Senate passed a bill supported by the University of Missouri System this week that clarifies how Bright Flight scholarships will be allocated as part of an expanded award structure. SB733, sponsored by Sen. David Pearce (R-Warrensburg), specifies students who score in the top three percent of test takers have priority-eligibility for up to $3,000 in awards. If additional funds are available, a smaller award of $1,000 would be allocated to students who score in the fourth and fifth percentile of test takers.

Bright Flight, the state’s merit-based scholarship plan, will be expanded in the coming year as part of SB389, which was passed by the General Assembly in 2007. The plan increased the award from $2,000 to $3,000 for the top tier of students and expanded the award to include those in the fourth and fifth percentiles at the $1,000 level. Without sufficient funding to cover all eligible students, however, the Department of Higher Education was faced with a dilemma of how to allocate the dollars.

In committee, UM officials testified in support of the legislation and argued that the intent of Bright Flight has always been to encourage the best and brightest students to stay in Missouri for their postsecondary education. The bill also clarifies the language expanding the program. It now moves to the House for consideration.

House, Senate sponsors align legislation designed to equalize Access Missouri scholarships

Now that key institution leaders in public and private higher education have agreed to an equalized award structure for the Access Missouri needs-based scholarship program, Senate and House sponsors are modifying their respective bills to reflect recent discussions.

SB784, sponsored by Sen. Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia), and HB1812, sponsored by Rep. Gayle Kingery (R-Poplar Bluff), are expected to be updated and move through the respective chambers in similar format. The bills will include language to equalize the awards for four-year students at public and private institutions at a maximum of $2,850. Students at two-year institutions could receive awards up to $1,300. Currently, private students can receive up to $4,600, while public four-year students are limited to $2,150 and public two-year students are limited to $1,000.

The modified legislation includes a start date of 2014, so current students are not affected. It also removes sunset language that created uncertainty in earlier versions of the bill.

Governor names MU graduate to Coordinating Board for Higher Education

Gov. Jay Nixon appointed Gary Sharpe of Jefferson City to serve as the 4th Congressional District representative to the state’s Coordinating Board for Higher Education. Sharpe, who earned a doctorate in education from MU in 1968, served in the state legislature for several years and chaired the House Committee on Elementary and Secondary Education. He has also served as a teacher, administrator and lobbyist for several public school organizations. He was executive director of the Missouri Association of School Administrators for nearly 20 years.

The appointment must be confirmed by the Senate. Confirmation is expected the week of April 5.

Candidate Filing Closes

Candidates filing for elected office had until 5 p.m. March 30 to qualify for the August 2010 primary election, to be held Aug. 3. Two open congressional seats will garner the most attention: U. S. Sen. Kit Bond’s (R) open seat and U. S. Rep. Roy Blunt’s (R) 7th District seat.

Twenty candidates have filed for the Senate seat and 70 candidates have filed for the 7th Congressional District seat. A total of 464 candidates have filed for the 10 open state Senate seats and 55 open state House seats.

To see a complete list of candidates, please visit the secretary of state’s Web site.