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March 5, 2021 Updates

House Higher Education

Monday afternoon the House Higher Education Committee voted out House Bill 856, which would repeal the tuition cap currently in place on public higher education institutions. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Richey, is now in the House Committee on Rules and Administrative Oversight. Once it is voted out of rules, the bill will be placed on House Calendar for debate on the floor.


UM System testifies against mandates on admission standards 

On Tuesday, the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee heard House Bill 320, sponsored by Rep. Fitzwater, that would change provisions on computer science courses. The Senate Education Committee also heard Senate Bill 240  with identical language, sponsored by Sen. Cierpiot on Tuesday afternoon.

The UM System brought witnesses to testify against the bill, which include an option for students to replace a mathematics course with a computer science course in high school. The bills would also mandate public higher education institutions to accept computer science courses to count toward math credits for admission. 

System educators want to ensure those students entering higher education feel prepared and able to succeed in their time on campus, which could be hindered by this substitution. Current Computer Science and Computer Engineering curriculum at UM System institutions require extensive college mathematics curriculum including three Calculus courses in addition to Computer Science or Computer Engineering courses. All four UM System universities require four mathematics credits for admission, which aligns with the Missouri Department of Higher Education's data that students who complete  four years of secondary math education are more likely to succeed in college level mathematics. 


Education Appropriations 

On Wednesday, the House Subcommittee on Appropriations-Education met to markup K-12 and higher education fiscal year 2022 appropriations. Representative Ed Lewis made a motion to change the Governor's recommendation of a one-time appropriation of $3 million for NextGen to adding the $3 million to the core budget. The motion was approved by a 6-0 vote and supported by committee chairman Representative Rusty Black. 


Walter Cronkite New Voices Act

Multiple University of Missouri students testified Wednesday in favor of the Cronkite New Voices Act, sponsored by Sen. Barbara Walters. The Act would protect the free speech and free press rights of student journalists at public secondary and higher education institutions and has been adopted by 14 states nation-wide. The bill has a house equivalent and is being heard for its fifth consecutive year.


Next Week 

The House Higher Education Committee will hear House Bill 682, sponsored by Representative Chipman. The bill would prohibit on-campus living requirements aside from a student's first year. 

The Committee is planning to vote out House Bill 355, which would establish the Informed Student Document Act on Monday. The bill sponsored by Rep. Ben Baker would require Missouri universities to share data related to student outcomes

Senate Appropriations will hear from the Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development on Wednesday regarding the Governor’s budget recommendations. 

Reviewed 2021-03-05