The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Top Stories

January 15, 2014

Reviews mixed for governor’s higher education funding proposal

To Taylor Shanks, a recent proposal to boost state funding for higher education institutions sounds like a good investment.

“Education costs have gone up a lot in the past few years,” the Missouri Southern State University junior said. “Education is important. If we don’t stay competitive on a local or national scale, we can’t keep up in the global marketplace.”

The proposal came last month from Gov. Jay Nixon, who said his budget recommendations for next fiscal year will include an additional $36.7 million for Missouri’s public colleges and universities. He also urged four-year schools to freeze tuition for Missouri undergraduates for the 2014-15 academic year.

“Nothing will have a greater impact on the future of our economy, and our state, than the commitment we make now to education,” Nixon said in a statement.

Missouri’s current state operating budget that took effect in July provides public colleges and universities an additional $25 million, to be distributed based upon how the schools perform in areas such as student retention and graduation rates. The governor’s proposed 5 percent increase for next fiscal year also would be distributed based on performance.

The proposal has drawn mixed reaction from local higher education officials and legislators, although students seem to favor it.

Ash Shannon, an MSSU senior from Carthage, said she thinks additional funding for the university would be great.

“The main reason I chose to attend Missouri Southern was the affordable tuition,” she said. “To get more funding would be phenomenal.”

Rob Yust, vice president for business affairs at Missouri Southern, said it’s unclear how much the university could receive under the proposal because the increase would be performance-based. The current fiscal year’s budget, adopted by the university’s governing board last spring, projected revenues of about $22.5 million in state aid, and $23 million in net tuition and fees.

“We have met four of the five (performance) measures for the next fiscal year, but I don’t know what dollar amount we are talking about,” Yust said.

Undergraduates at MSSU currently pay $173.20 per credit hour; a full-time student taking 12 hours per semester will pay $4,156.80 this year in tuition. The rate is about 2.2 percent higher than last year’s tuition costs.

Discussions about next year’s tuition rates could begin as early as next month between the university’s finance department and the Board of Governors, which has final authority on setting those rates, Yust said.

For Crowder College, a 5 percent funding increase would translate into about $200,000, said Jim Cummins, vice president of finance.

The college this year expects to receive about $4.4 million in state aid, which will make up about 9 percent of its base revenue, Cummins said. In-district students pay $78 per credit hour; out-of-district students pay $107 per credit hour. Students taking 12 credit hours per semester will pay $1,872 and $2,568 in tuition this year, respectively. Those rates were a slight increase over last year’s rates.

But a recent conference call among leaders of state community colleges, including those from Crowder, revealed some hesitation about the overall proposal, Cummins said.

“It was the feeling of most of the presidents across the state that community college tuition is so low already, and state funding is such a small portion of our overall budget, that we have to be careful about saying we are going to freeze tuition for a given percentage increase in state funding,” he said. “It’s not that we’re not appreciative of potentially 5 percent more money; it just kind of ties our hands when our tuition is so much lower than four-year (institutions’).”

Rep. Mike Kelley, R-Lamar, said the House Education Appropriations Committee on which he serves has not yet received its budget proposals. He said that while he’d like to fund every proposal, he thinks the Democratic governor is promising things, such as more funding for higher education, with money that might not be there, based on revenue estimates for the upcoming fiscal year.

“We have not found that pot of gold,” he said.

The idea of an undergraduate tuition freeze is not new in Missouri. Most recently, public colleges and universities struck a deal with Nixon to hold undergraduate tuition flat for Missouri residents in 2010-11 in exchange for receiving no more than about $50 million in cuts to their core state funding. Institutions also had agreed to keep tuition flat the previous school year.

Text Only
Top Stories
  • 041614 MDOT5_72.jpg JATSO recommends 15 road projects for planning

    The reconstruction of the Highway 171/Interstate 49 interchange at Carthage and the construction of a limited-access highway on the west side of Joplin and Carl Junction are among the top highway projects to be identified by the Joplin Area Transportation Study Organization.
     

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • TIF proposal filed for development of area at 44th Street and Range Line

    Joplin’s Tax Increment Financing Commission will hold an informational meeting today on a proposal to establish a TIF district to pay for a wetlands project on property in the area of 44th Street and Range Line, where a developer wants to build a retail, office and hospitality district.

    April 16, 2014

  • Joplin city attorney takes job in Lee’s Summit

    City Attorney Brian Head will leave his Joplin post next month for a job in Lee’s Summit in suburban Kansas City. Head submitted a letter of resignation Wednesday morning to Mayor Mike Seibert and the City Council. The council is his employer.

    April 16, 2014

  • More volunteers, donations sought for ‘Victory 4 Haiti’

    The second meals-for-Haiti project, scheduled for April 26, is in need of donations and volunteers, organizers say. “Victory 4 Haiti,” a food-packaging event that will provide meals to the Haitian Christian Mission in the village of Fond-Parisien and elsewhere in Haiti, needs $60,000 to pay for about 280,000 meals.

    April 16, 2014

  • 3 To Get Ready

    Three things coming your way in Thursday’s Joplin Globe.

    April 16, 2014

  • South Korea Ship Sink.jpg 283 missing, 4 dead in South Korea ferry disaster

    A ferry carrying 462 people, mostly high school students on an overnight trip to a tourist island, sank off South Korea’s southern coast on Wednesday, leaving more than 280 people missing despite a frantic, hours-long rescue by dozens of ships and helicopters.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • City attorney’s last day May 16

    Joplin’s city attorney, Brian Head, in a letter this morning to the mayor and City Council, gave 30 days notice of his resignation to take a job as city attorney at Lee’s Summit.

    April 16, 2014

  • r091813cityhall.jpg PART ONE: Joplin Globe receives copy of investigation named in court order

    As a result of a court order obtained by the Globe against the City of Joplin, and Thursday's waiving of appeal by the City Council, we have received a copy of the Thomas Loraine investigation report that led to the firing of former city manager Mark Rohr. As documents are converted for digital viewing, they will be uploaded here.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • PART TWO: Joplin City Council report documents continued

    As a result of a court order obtained by the Globe against the City of Joplin, and Thursday's waiving of appeal by the City Council, we have received a copy of the Thomas Loraine investigation report that led to the firing of former city manager Mark Rohr. Documents are converted for digital viewing.

    The amount of documentation we received is extensive, and testimonies are continued here.

    April 16, 2014

  • PART THREE: Joplin City Council investigation documents

    As a result of a court order obtained by the Globe against the City of Joplin, and Thursday's waiving of appeal by the City Council, we have received a copy of the Thomas Loraine investigation report that led to the firing of former city manager Mark Rohr. Documents are converted for digital viewing.

    The amount of documentation we received is extensive, and testimonies are continued here.

    April 16, 2014