Increased funding for higher education on the line

1 year 1 month 4 weeks ago January 26, 2016 Jan 26, 2016 Tuesday, January 26 2016 Tuesday, January 26, 2016 12:56:00 PM CST in News
By: Michael Lindquist, KOMU 8 Reporter

JEFFERSON CITY - A Senate appropriations committee met Tuesday to discuss funding of higher education institutions.

The budget is facing an opposing Republican supermajority in the legislature, making it difficult for Governor Jay Nixon's proposal to get approved.

In September, Nixon proposed to increase funding for two and four year public education institutions by $55.7 million. 

In exchange, universities and colleges must freeze tuition rates for the 2016-2017 school year. In addition, the institutions have agreed to set aside $9.7 million of the funding for programs relating to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). 

Governor Nixon's Press Secretary Scott Holste said the amount of money a school gets depends on meeting performance standards. Holste said the UM System is eligible for $26.8 million of the $55.7 million.

Representative Stephen Webber, D-Columbia, said he's skeptical the funds will get approved.

"The republican supermajority in the legislature will ultimately determine how much funding the University of Missouri receives," Webber said. "And, they have been threatning to cut the university budget, which impacts students and familes across the state because they're unhappy with some of the decisions the university has made."

Representative Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, said he supports funding for education institutions. 

"Anytime we can invest in the next generation, in higher education and K-12. I think it's something we need to do," Rowden said. "I think we need to be mindful of the dollars that we have available to us. Revenues are pretty stagnant at this point and so you have to be honest about that and make sure that at the end of the day we're balancing the budget."

MU Chancellor Hank Foley is scheduled to deliver the State of the University address Wednesday where funds for the university will be discussed.

The General Assembly has until May 1 to approve the budget.

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