TODAY'S QUESTION: What should be done about the higher education budget?

Monday, April 12, 2010 | 9:22 a.m. CDT; updated 6:17 p.m. CDT, Monday, April 12, 2010

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved cuts of nearly $65 million from the budget of public colleges and universities last week.

This is in opposition to a previous deal between Gov. Jay Nixon and higher education institutions. In-state undergraduate tuition would be frozen in exchange for no more than $50 million in state funding cuts during the 2010-11 academic year.

Nixon, during a visit to Columbia on Wednesday, said, “I’ll do everything within my power to make sure that we uphold that deal.”

The UM System Board of Curators will meet Thursday and Friday and set next year’s tuition for its institutions. MU Chancellor Brady Deaton said MU would recommend sticking with the plan to freeze tuition.

May 7 is the deadline for lawmakers to pass a final version of the budget.

Another source of budget dispute is the proposed cuts to state funding for private college and university scholarships.

The maximum Access Missouri scholarships funds for private school students would be reduced from $4,600 to $2,850 in an effort to even the grant money for both public and private school students.

Students from both Columbia and Stephens colleges held events at their campuses Thursday and wrote letters to Nixon advocating to keep the scholarship levels at the current state.

Many students, such as Columbia College senior Michelle Arnold, have said they would not be able to attend college without the Access Missouri grant.

What do you think will be done with the higher education budget? What should be done?

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matthew mina April 13, 2010 | 6:20 p.m.

I attend a private university in Fulton and would not be able to afford to go without the Access grant. I don't understand why Nixon would want to cut funding. With education comes higher pay thus educated people end up paying more taxes to fund the government. Why is Nixon trying to hurt Missouri students futures? I thought democrats supported education. Private schools cost more,provide smaller class sizes and have specialized programs not available elsewhere. Why hurt the students? Please don't support Nixon's plan to cut away my future.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith April 14, 2010 | 11:53 a.m.

@matthew mina

The situation you describe illustrates an important point: what the state gives, the state can also take away.

Isn't that also true of the federal government? Definitely, but the circumstances are different.

The state is required to balance its budget, which in this case is causing it to make cuts in programs. You may not like the cut the governor has made or proposes to make but the budget must be balanced.

Our federal government isn't required to balance its budget. If revenues fall short of expenditures, the shortfall goes to deficit, and while there are imposed limits on the deficit, Congress can raise them.

In the case of the current situation in Missouri it's going to be interesting to see where cuts will be and how much they will be.

PS: It's true that some private colleges and universities have programs "not available elsewhere," but that's also true for certain programs at University of Missouri System. Those programs don't necessarily exist at the Columbia campus.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz April 14, 2010 | 2:31 p.m.

Back when I was in college, I thought it was awesome that I qualified for the Bright Flight scholarship and the state paid a good portion of my tuition and books, leaving what I earned from my job for other bills and such. Now that I'm a bit older and a lot wiser, I think a bit differently about such things.

(Report Comment)

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