Money Cap Bill Causes Friction
University officials are frustrated, they say the plan simply ignores the university's growth. Signs of change on the Columbia campus, but one sign says it all. The UM system is looking for outside money to help its tight budget.
"We have done an excellent job of maintaining our costs and keeping them contained." said Joe Moore, UM spokesman.
But Moore says state lawmakers have not held up their end. He says St. Charles Representative Carl Bearden's proposed law short-changes students.
"We consider it bad legislation," explained Bearden. "The government is keeping their end. The question is, 'who do we owe? Do we owe the institutions or do we owe the students who are seeking higher education?'"
The number of students in the UM system has grown by 7,000 since 2002. Moore says state money to colleges should grow too.
Bearden says his plan keeps funds focused on students in the form of scholarhips.
"Then they would have to start shifting their focus to students themselves making whatever changes are necessary to attract more students," explained Bearden.
But UM officials say they could be left searching for other sources of money.
"Donations tend to be one time funding," explained Moore. "We do not want to look to one time funding infusions to make up for holes in an annual budget."
The bill was passed in the House last week.