Mizzou Chancellor Alex Cartwright says increased funding in scholarships, staff pay increases and an enrollment decline have led to a $49 million budget shortage. He says the school is proposing to cut 155 unfilled positions and 30 current ones, to close the gap in the budget that begins next month.
“What we wanted to do is make sure we have the services needed first and foremost for our students. Those are where we prioritize and then the details of what are the things that aren’t as frontline,” says Cartwright. “To me that is really a choice in terms of where we are investing: in our students and our faculty and the things we are doing as an academic institution.”
The enrollment projections were not outlined during a press conference this week to release the budget details.
Severance packages of up to 26 weeks of pay, depending on years of service, are being offered to staff having their positions cut.
The spending plan marks the third year in a row the institution has slashed its budget and jobs.
“When you add even a 2% reduction on top of reductions that have already taken place for many years, they have already cut everything they can cut. Right now, they are having to make some really difficult decisions about what they will not be doing,” says Cartwright.
The state’s proposed funding for the university is the same as last year’s – nearly $396 million. As part of a deal with legislative budget leaders to avoid a smaller share of state funding, Mizzou in turn agreed to only increase tuition next fiscal year by 1%.
The proposed budget also includes:
*Significant reduction of travel by several schools and colleges across the campus.
*Other schools and colleges eliminating courses with low enrollment and reduced emphasis areas for academic programs. The courses being targeted for cuts are unknown.
*Divisions are reducing or eliminating sponsorships of community or campus events.
*Elimination of several print publications and replacing them with internet-based ones.
The budget recommendations head to the Board of Curators later this month for consideration.
Mizzou appears to be digging itself out of a housing problem hole. One year ago, the school had seven empty dorms that prompted officials to rent rooms to the public during football weekends and other major events. Football fans and others visiting Mizzou will have to find another place to stay. Next fall, those rooms will mostly be filled with students absorbing the traditional experience of living on campus.
The success of getting the dorm rooms filled back up with the future leaders of tomorrow is likely because the university dropped its housing rates last year for more than one-third of its more popular residence halls. The reduction was in response to a 2.1% tuition hike last fall at all four campuses.
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