COLUMBIA — A legislative plan for the state budget would cut higher education funding next year by roughly 5 percent, which would translate to about $50 million. On Tuesday, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a further cut of $15 million beyond the originally agreed upon reduction.
Gary Forsee, president of the University of Missouri System, issued this statement on Tuesday afternoon about recent Senate action:
"In response to numerous inquiries, I want to express my continued appreciation to the governor and the General Assembly for their work and diligence on the 2011 state budget. This is a very hard and complicated challenge.
“We do believe there is consistent and growing recognition of the value that higher education plays in our state's future. The University of Missouri has taken extraordinary steps to ensure its accountability to the state during this time, including continuing to take very tough actions to meet our own budget challenges. But at the same time, we are making investments in our most important constituents, our students. We have held undergraduate tuition flat in 2010 by working proactively with the governor and General Assembly and have pursued that same tact for 2011 while accepting a prescribed cut to our core budget.
“As the budget process has worked its way through the House and Senate in the past couple of weeks, we have been very engaged in representing our value and accountability. The governor also has expressed his continued support for the proposition that was reached last fall on funding and tuition. While there are currently differences in the House and Senate versions of higher education funding, the University of Missouri will continue to be proactive as the General Assembly draws to conclusion its budget process. We believe we have strongly made the case for recognizing our funding needs juxtaposed with the need to provide Missourians access to public higher education.”