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Statement from University of Missouri President Gary Forsee regarding Gov. Jay Nixon’s State of the State address


Christian Basi

January 28, 2009

The University of Missouri applauds Gov. Nixon's clear commitment to investing in public higher education, and his belief that education is vital to advancing Missouri's economy, creating jobs and preparing students for a globally competitive workplace.

We are fully supportive of the governor's initiative to keep public higher education's 2010 operating budgets at 2009 levels in return for a commitment to hold tuition at current levels. This is great news for students and families across the state who are grappling with the nation's economic crisis.

We also support the governor's plan for the Access Missouri scholarship program and his recommendation to balance the financial awards for all students attending four-year public or private institutions. Students who attend private institutions are currently eligible for more than twice the funding of those who choose to attend public institutions. The governor is on the right track to make this a fair and balanced financial aid program that will improve access to higher education for all students.

The governor also recognizes that Missourians need greater access to quality health care. We appreciate his endorsement of Caring for Missourians, which will enable the university to produce more trained health professionals to meet the state's rapidly growing needs.

In addition, we thank the governor for his continued work in securing federal economic stimulus funds for our state, which will help bolster our economy and ensure that Missouri is part of America's economic recovery program.

We have been reviewing all aspects of the University's operations as they support our strategic priorities and mission. We had not anticipated that University Extension would be singled out for a 50 percent reduction in state funding. Our Extension outreach - ranging from agriculture research and local nutrition programs to youth development initiatives, including 4H - has been part of the fabric of our state for nearly a century. We obviously need some time to examine the implications of this proposed budget cut and its impact on citizens across the state.