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University of Missouri Might Face Cuts

January 23, 2002
By: Tiffany Ellis
State Capital Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY - The University of Missouri system would face nearly a $50 million cut in its state appropriations for general education under the budget plan released Wednesday by Gov. Bob Holden.

Under the governor's plan, the University would get $411.3 million in state funds compared to the $460.5 million that had been appropriated by lawmakers last year for this budget year that ends on June 30.

In total, the governor recommended $81 million in reductions in the operating budget appropriations for all of higher education for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

The size of the cuts are a bit misleading however -- because budget withholdings this year already had denied the university 10 percent of its appropriations.

Thus, the governor's recommendations for next fiscal year amount to a standstill for the University.

"It's not the end of the world," said University of Missouri lobbyist Jim Snyder. "We're going to have to make some adjustments - we've been planning on it."

Although university officials have discussed raising student fees to compensate for the budget cuts, Snyder stated no definite increases have been decided on.

Currently, UM has limited options to generate lost revenue. Snyder said it would take a $1,000 per student increase in fees system-wide to fully compensate from the loss.

Some legislators expressed anger at Holden's decision to cut higher education.

"How can you say that you're a higher education governor and then cut $100 million from higher ed," asked Rep. Quincy Troop, D-St. Louis, on Holden's proposed cuts.

However, according to Sen. Ken Jacob, D-Boone County, higher education is one of the first places government looks when making budget cuts.

"I hate it when we cut education," Jacob said. "There's not many places to cut. You have to go to education," he said.

"There's just not many places to get extra funds."