Missouri’s higher education institutions say budget cuts that are being suggested for the next budget year would be devastating. The Coordinating Board for Higher Education has asked state colleges and universities what they’d do if their budgets were cut 15 to 25 percent. State budget officials watching the economy slide and state income slide with it, have asked for worst case scenarios from several other state agencies and institutions, too. The University of Missouri’s report on how it would handle those cuts hasn’t been filed yet. But the state’s second-biggest university, Missouri State, says a 25 percent cut would be more than the total amount of financial aid its students get. Truman State says it might have to lay off as many as 208 faculty. Associate Commissioner of Higher Education Paul Wagner says higher tuitions are not an solution schools want to embrace. He says students already pay a higher percentage of their education costs than students in many other states because state support already is among the lowest in the nation. He says some students might have to shut down programs. Some suggest limiting enrollment. One school says a cut of 15 to 25 percent in his school’s budget would cause significant economic damage to its county because nine percent of all earnings in that county are attributed to the school.,The higher education department will compile the information and give it to the legislature next week.
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