The new leader of Missouri’s higher education says a financial reckoning is coming, and soon.

University of Missouri administrator David Russell is taking a leave of absence to be the interim state commissioner of higher education, replacing Robert Stein when Stein retires at the end of the month.

He’ll serve until there’s a clearer definition of the future of the department. The legislature considered but did not pass this year a proposal to merge higher education with elementary and secondary education.

Russell says the biggest issue facing higher education is affordability at a time when state finances face a crisis in a year.

He, like a lot of educators and government leaders, recognizes the problem. But the solution is still out there somewhere.

Bob Priddy interviews David Russell 4:52 mp3