Today, Governor Jay Nixon signed into law House Bill 3, which is the operating budget for higher education. I want to summarize the key decisions and comment on their impact on Missouri State University.
Summary of Governor Nixon’s action on budget
- A total of about $58 million of general revenue has been restricted (withheld) from House Bill 3, and additional amounts of non-general revenue will also be restricted.
- University and community college operating funds will be cut by a total of 7 percent, which was the Governor’s original recommendation and what we have been planning for since January – the difference between the 5.7 percent reduction approved by the Missouri General Assembly and the 7 percent amounts to about $1.1 million for Missouri State.
- Two universities, the University of Missouri System and Missouri Western State University, will have their operating budgets reduced by an additional 1.1 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively.
- Access Missouri Scholarships will be reduced $1 million from what the Missouri General Assembly had approved.
- Bright Flight Scholarships will be reduced by $2 million from what the General Assembly had approved.
- MORENET will be reduced by $50,000 from what the General Assembly had approved.
- The $2 million for the cooperative Doctor of Pharmacy degree between the University of Missouri-Kansas City and Missouri State was approved – the funding goes to UMKC, which will contract back with Missouri State for a portion of the funds.
Student learning outcomes initiative to continue
We appreciate Governor Nixon’s timely review of and action on the higher education operating budget for Fiscal Year 2012. This gives us time to prepare to implement House Bill 3 on July 1.
We very much understand and appreciate the budget choices the Governor had to make in order to have a balanced budget. The easy decisions are long gone; all that were left are the difficult ones. We are well aware of the Governor’s support of education at all levels, including higher education, and his desire to fund education at the highest possible level. But he has to balance those desires with other statewide needs, especially the recent natural disasters in our state.
The good news is we have been planning on the 7 percent reduction since January when the Governor announced his budget. As a result, we are prepared and ready to implement our budget at that level. We will live within the budget, while keeping the tuition and fee increases as low as possible for students. In the process, we will not compromise the quality of education our students receive.
As you remember, we had intended to use the $1.1 million to improve student learning outcomes as a major initiative in the new long-range plan. So you know, my intent is to continue with that initiative, even if we must fund it with surplus funds this year. Student learning outcomes are key to our future success and we will pursue that goal with existing resources. It is that important.
Cooperative Doctor of Pharmacy program
Receiving funding for the cooperative Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) Program with the University of Missouri-Kansas City is great news for the citizens of Missouri, and especially those living in southwest Missouri. We will immediately intensify our discussions with UMKC so that we can implement the cooperative PharmD program as soon as possible.
I also want to take this opportunity to thank and congratulate our area legislative delegation, spearheaded by Rep. David Sater from Cassville. Our delegation worked hard as a group for three years to accomplish this, and we very much appreciate their efforts on our behalf. We very much appreciate the Governor supporting this initiative.
We will make these adjustments in the budget that we present to the Board of Governors next Friday, June 17, for approval. The new fiscal year begins July 1. If and when there is more information to share, I will let you know.
James E. Cofer, Sr.