Gov. Nixon Proposes More Higher Education Funding

9 years 2 weeks 2 days ago Tuesday, October 26 2010 Oct 26, 2010 Tuesday, October 26, 2010 7:00:01 PM CDT October 26, 2010 in News
COLUMBIA - At a conference attended by leading educators from public universities around Missouri, Gov. Jay Nixon announced his plan to inject $100 thousand into these institutions for the 2012 fiscal year. The money, Nixon said, will go toward redesigning undergraduate courses from large lecture classes. "The courses we're talking about redesigning are your classic freshman courses," Nixon said. "There has been a body of work that has shown there are more efficient, effective and better ways to deliver that product." During a spirited speech where Nixon spoke of the "magic" of higher education, he also said this funding will increase student engagement and performance. And although he received a round of applause for this announcement, many educators said that it was only a "token" gesture. Bob Jones is a psychology professor at Missouri State University in Springfield, Mo. He said he was impressed by Nixon's announcement, but knew it would not greatly help higher education in Missouri. "We're a grossly underfunded state in terms of higher education...It's a very poignant and difficult problem in this state," Jones said. "He's making a token gesture that's consistent with his personal values, but he's doing it in a real world where he doesn't have resources." And with the current $23 billion state budget, other professors and administrators called the move a "drop in the bucket." Some suggested the state should cease funding public higher education altogether, making each university compete individually for grant-based funding. As for the 2012 budget, Nixon told reporters he was not able to say what will or will not be cut from higher education in the coming months. But he did recognize that Missouri currently faces difficult financial problems. "The big overarching thing you got is, in essence, $900 million in budget stabilization funds ending and we got to that gap close in the next year," Nixon said.

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