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UM System Interim President Steve Owens’ response to Mo. Gov. Jay Nixon’s proposed cut in higher education funding

January 24th, 2012 · 2 Comments · Mission and Goals

[The statement below was issued by UM System Interim President Steve Owens’ following Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon’s State of the State address, delivered Jan. 17, 2012. In his address, Gov. Nixon proposed a state budget that will cut $106 million in higher education funding. This would be, if the Missouri legislature approves, a 12.5% cut.]

Statement from University of Missouri System Interim President Steve Owens 

Higher education is an important asset for our children, our future and our quality of life.  Funding for public higher education should be viewed as an investment, not an expense. We are still reviewing the governor’s budget recommendation presented last night and assessing its impact on pay raises for university employees, tuition increases for students and further cuts throughout the university.

Given the historic difficulty in finding adequate funds for higher education, now is the time to begin looking at all options, including new, dedicated revenue streams. As we move forward together, the university remains committed to working with the governor and the legislature to find ways to adequately fund higher education and to maintain the quality and excellence that Missourians rightfully expect from the university.

For more than 10 years, higher education and the four campuses of the University of Missouri System have been doing more with less. The university now receives less annual state support than we did in 2001, yet we now educate 17,000 more students, generate $85 million more in sponsored research, provide $23.5 million more in unreimbursed health care, offer a broader scope of Extension services, including free disaster relief, and create more new jobs through economic development.

During the last decade, both the state and the university have continuously made difficult choices and cuts that have been felt by all Missourians. This year will be no different and the university will continue to work with all segments of the state to share the burden of a slowly recovering economy. The years of cuts specific to higher education, however, have placed our state 45th out of 50 states in per capita higher education funding—lower than any of our neighboring states, any state in the Midwest and any state in the South.

It is fair to ask how long we can continue to do more with less.  After a decade of reductions in state support and implementation of operational efficiencies, we are near the point where either the level of funding will have to increase or the scope and quality of services will have to decrease.

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2 Comments so far ↓

  • rinec

    Dear sirs:

    I wish to augment my statement above (D. Rine) with the following supporting statement from Virginia. Do you want to see MO go downhill while competing states such as VA go uphill?

    2012 Virginia Higher Education Budget

    Virginia’s higher education agency plans to discuss what’s in store for the state’s public colleges and universities in the governor’s proposed budget.

    The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia is to meet today to discuss higher-ed funding in Gov. Bob McDonnell’s proposed biennial budget. McDonnell has said he’s seeking $200 million in new money for the upcoming biennium to support efforts to restructure and reinvest in the state’s public higher education system.
    Council members also expect to discuss legislation in the upcoming General Assembly session that affects higher education.

    David Rine
    Professor Emeritus
    The Volgenau School of Information Technology and Engineering
    and Past consultant for various VA IT businesses
    George Mason University
    Resident of the KS-MO Region

  • rinec

    I wish to strongly support UM System Interim President Steve Owens’ response to Mo. Gov. Jay Nixon’s proposed cut in higher education funding. To remain competitive in the greater Kansas-Missouri-Iowa region for new businesses, jobs and economic support it is essential, as with our Virginia-Maryland region. New MO initiatives such as mircro-enterprise centers and centers for innovative technologies, partnering with the University of MO system such be added to the new budget. While I am a full-time resident in the area I have considerable expertise in what I am saying based upon my years benefiting from strong support of higher education in the Virginia-Maryland region. Please do not reduce the level of funding.

    David Rine
    Professor Emeritus
    The Volgenau School of Information Technology and Engineering
    and Past consultant for various VA IT businesses
    George Mason University
    Resident of the KS-MO Region.