The state Senate Budget Committee has proposed restoring an increase in state aid to colleges and universities, as part of a deal those institutions made with Governor Jay Nixon (D).
Governor Nixon’s proposed budget included a six-percent increase in performance-based funding to colleges and universities. In exchange they agreed to freeze tuition. The House reduced that to two-percent. The House also proposed giving the University of Missouri no increase in performance-based state aid, because many lawmakers object to its handling of protests at the University of Missouri last fall.
The Senate panel proposed restoring the full 6-percent. Chairman Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia) said that isn’t just to preserve the tuition freeze.
“It’s because we passed a law that says there are five metrics in performance funding and if you meet ’em, you get funding,” said Schaefer.
He and other members of the committee also said they felt a reduction in performance funding would hurt too many.
“I don’t think that anyone in this process wants to do anything negative to students or their families who pay tuition, or the people that cut the grass, or the people that paint the classrooms, and staff,” said Schaefer.
Some wanted to preserve the elimination of an increase to MU but most committee members, including the panel’s top Democrat, Senator Kiki Curls (Kansas City) said the increase should be the same for all.
“At some point, how long are we going to continue to kick them,” Curls said of the University of Missouri. “It’s one thing that folks may have issues with MU in Columbia, but then what about the other campuses … and at some point I think we need to move forward.”
The committee’s plan next goes to the full Senate. Once the Senate has approved a proposed spending plan, it and the House will negotiate to a final proposal that could be between no increase to higher education institutions, up to six-percent. That negotiated proposal will be sent to the governor.