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Statement from University of Missouri System Interim President Stephen J. Owens regarding Gov. Nixon’s budget announcement

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John Fougere

Chief Communications Officer

University Relations

Jun 10, 2011

“Our thoughts and prayers continue to go out to the people of Missouri victimized by this spring’s unprecedented natural disasters.  We fully understand and appreciate the additional budget challenges posed by the flooding in the Bootheel and the tornados in Joplin, Sedalia and St. Louis. 

“During recent weeks, our faculty, staff, students, health care providers, extension offices, and student-athletes have provided food and supplies, and worked alongside residents and other volunteers, to assist in the relief efforts. We will continue our assistance to our fellow Missourians for many months to come. 

“While it is unfortunate that these emergencies have resulted in further reductions in state support for higher education that will again challenge our ability to keep the cost of quality education as low as possible, we stand united with all Missourians in sharing the financial burden placed on our state in the wake of this spring's bad weather.” 

“We are disappointed, however, that the university (along with Missouri Western University) received a disproportionate cut in state support. This apparently was based on our governing board’s decision, after months of study, to increase tuition and required fees by an average of 5.5% rather than 5%, an increase that later was approved by the Commissioner of Higher Education.  Our board’s action was based, in part, on a 10-year decline in state support during which more was being asked of the university.  We are now educating 17,000 more students each year on less state support than we received in 2001. Approximately 70% of the state’s growth in undergraduate enrollment among four-year institutions over the last 10 years has occurred at the University of Missouri.”