A discussion of a new way for the state to pay part of the costs of higher education has become a discussion of whether the state has too many public colleges and universities.
Senate education committee chairman David Pearce of Warrensburg proposes most of any increased funding for the state’s 13 institutions of higher education be based on five criteria. Graduation rates and student retention are two of the major points.
But Senate Appropriations Chairman Kurt Schaefer of Columbia argues the new formula does not solve the problem of duplicated services and it rewards open enrollment four year schools that duplicate services provided by community colleges. He says the plan might be impractical in rating schools of different enrollment standards.
Schaefer argues that management of many of Missouri’s higher education institutions should be merged before any change in funding is allowed. And he says schools should annually have to justify their existence to get state money.
Pearce thinks that discussion is likely to last a long time but the need for a funding formula needs to be passed now.
He’ll try on another day to make progress with his bill in the Senate.