The head of Missouri’s higher education systems knows the states colleges and universities will continue feeling financial pinches. But he says there are things they can be doing to be ready when conditions improve.

Commissioner Dave Russell oversees thirteen four-year universities plus about twemty community colleges, 160 proprietary schools, and about twenty independent, private, colleges. He says one of the challenges for him and for the department of higher education will be breaking down some barriers between all of those schools and having a more productive and efficient system.

Russell says students need to know sooner what they need to do to prepare for that system. And he says the system that allows students to take credits with them when they transfer needs to continue improving.

He describes Missouri’s college student population “dynamic,” and says many of the students pop in and out of higher education, meaning the sytem has to be flexible for them.

Listen to the Russell interview 3:13 MP3