Mo. Senate Backs 4.8 Percent Cut to Colleges
JEFFERSON CITY - Just two and a half weeks before the budget deadline, the Missouri state Senate passed the 2012 education budget Wednesday. The Senate agreed to split an extra $20 million among all of the state's public colleges and universities. But, Missouri's public colleges and universities would still take a 4.8 percent funding cut next year under the deal.
The reduction is less than the 7 percent cut originally proposed by Gov. Jay Nixon and passed by the House. That means the two chambers must reconcile their differences before sending a final budget plan to the governor.
The Senate Appropriations Chairman, Republican Kurt Schaefer out of Columbia, was responsible for taking the total up to $20 million. And Columbia Democrat Chris Kelly said the extra money will help college and universities all over the state.
"Well, if it holds, it will mean a better university and the university can use the money for repair and maintenance or for program support that the university does for the state of Missouri," Kelly said.
Senators lessened the proposed state funding cut as part of a deal with higher education officials to soften the financial hit to students. Many institutions already are planning tuition hikes next
year, but they agreed to try to increase scholarships or reduce course fees for students.
The Senate budget plan would rely on $30 million from the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority to help fund state scholarships.