Governor announces $40 million to higher education institutions
On February 7, Governor Jay Nixon announced that he would submit an amended budget proposal for higher education that will include $40 million more than his original FY 13 budget proposal. The additional funds are the result of a nationwide legal settlement with banks involved in the recent mortgage crisis. Missouri is expected to receive more than $140 million in settlement money, some of which will be redistributed to homeowners, with other portions available for other state needs. The additional $40 million would reduce the proposed FY13 cut to an approximately 8 percent reduction, rather than the originally proposed 12.5 percent. To see the announcement regarding the additional funds, click here.
Senate committee passes bill creating a higher education capital fund
The Senate Appropriations committee heard and passed SB 655, sponsored by Sen. Tim Green (D-St. Louis). The bill would create a Fund for the receipt of state matching funds for public colleges or universities for capital projects. To receive the funds, a higher education institution must raise 50 percent of the cost from private donations or grants, the state may then appropriate the remaining 50 percent as matching funds. The committee agreed on an amendment to the bill to prohibit any funds from being used for athletic facilities or other revenue-generating facilities.
Among those testifying in favor of the legislation were Tom George, Chancellor of the University of Missouri – St. Louis, Wally Pfeffer, Chair of the Mizzou Legislative Network, Tom Rackers representing the Mizzou Flagship Council, and Patricia Poe, a sophomore at MU representing the Associated Students of the University of Missouri.
Senate gives first round approval to higher education bill
Legislation to improve remedial education and improve transfer of courses between institutions moved forward in the Missouri Senate on February 8. SB 455, sponsored by Sen. David Pearce (R-Warrensburg) was perfected on a voice vote and faces a final vote before moving over to the House. A similar bill, HB 1042, sponsored by Rep. Mike Thomson (R-Maryville) has also passed the House Higher Education Committee and is awaiting consideration on the floor. The bills encourage following best practices for improving remedial education at the post-secondary level and seek to improve the process of transferring credits from two- to four-year higher education institutions. The bills also reference reverse transfer of credits for students who seek to complete an associate’s degree after transferring to a four-year institution.