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UM System report describes possible cuts, tuition increase

Thursday, December 18, 2008 | 10:16 p.m. CST; updated 1:50 p.m. CST, Saturday, December 20, 2008

COLUMBIA — University of Missouri System President Gary Forsee submitted a report on Thursday to the state Department of Higher Education that predicts reductions in faculty and staff, an increase in tuition and a reduction in scholarship funding as results of a possible cut in state money.

The report details the predicted effects of possible reductions in state appropriations of 15 percent, 20 percent or 25 percent — a loss for MU ranging from $30.4 million to $50.6 million in fiscal year 2010.

In an accompanying letter to the state higher education commissioner, Forsee wrote that the effects of reductions in funding would be widespread.

“We want to state that there will be a significant negative effect felt by citizens across our state — not just our faculty, staff and students — should the full measure of these reductions take place across our university's four campuses,” Forsee said.

The report outlines the following actions and the systemwide effect of each:

  • Reductions in faculty, including shifting them from research to instruction and hiring more adjunct and part-time instructors

Effect: Increased class sizes; reduction in courses offered; potential reduction in quality of instruction; consolidation and closure of academic programs; reduction in library operations; and risk of damage to the reputation of the system's quality of education

  • Reductions in staff, including student workers

Effect: Decreases, eliminations or consolidations of selected services; increased risk of exposure in financial and environmental areas; risk of noncompliance with federal and state regulations; delays in transaction processing; reduction in number of student computer labs and hours of operation

  • Elimination of merit and market salary increases and ranked faculty salary program, and reduction in benefit programs for faculty, staff and retirees

Effect: Impaired ability to recruit for top faculty competitively; reduced research, service, instructional capability and contribution to economic development

  • Reduced expenditures for library materials, facilities maintenance and repair, utilities, and staff development, faculty start-up packages, equipment replacement

Effect: Fewer educational resources; facilities may not receive proper maintenance, allowing for more risk of system failures; loss of items key to the recruitment and retention of faculty and staff

  • Significant tuition increases with decreased availability of institutional scholarships.

Effect: Decreased access and affordability for some students with a possible related decline in enrollment

  • Reduction in MU Extension’s budget, including elimination of about 20 campus and field positions

Effect: Reduced support of small businesses, families, continuing education programs, youth programs, agricultural programs and community development

  • Reduction in resources available to invest in the economic development mission of the university

Effect: Compromised ability to address the audit findings on technology transfer fiscal operations, the lack of faculty service in technology transfer on the campuses and the backlog of 500 disclosures that have not been processed by the campuses.

Forsee and the chancellors from the UM System's four campuses were scheduled to hold a news conference to discuss the report at 11:30 a.m. Friday at University Hall.

Check back with ColumbiaMissourian.com for updates.


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