Missouri public university funding falls 13.6 percent since 2002

Wednesday, January 18, 2012 | 8:54 p.m. CST; updated 1:21 p.m. CST, Wednesday, February 1, 2012

COLUMBIA — The state reduced per-student funding for major public research universities by 13.6 percent from 2002 to 2010, according to a news release sent Wednesday from the National Science Board.

The report comes on the heels of Gov. Jay Nixon's State of the State address, where he proposed a $106 million reduction in funding for higher education institutions. This comes to an approximate 13 percent decrease from last year's budget.

After adjusting figures for inflation, the higher education section of the board's report found per-pupil spending in Missouri dropped from $10,200 to $8,812 from 2002 to 2010. Nationally, state funding for the top 101 public research universities decreased by 10 percent on average during that time, the release stated.

The report, Science and Engineering Indicators, is prepared every two years. It provides data on American jobs and education funding and performance, which have not been adjusted for inflation. Policymakers, federal agencies, researchers and journalists use its findings to evaluate the country's competitiveness in science and technology, the release stated.

Despite the decline in state funding, Missouri’s per-pupil spending is above the national average for the first time since 2005, according to the release. The most recent data reported are for 2010.

The report also examined state spending on student aid per full-time undergraduate student. Missouri has spent far less than the national average on student aid since data were first collected in 1995. For example, in 2006, Missouri spent $198 per student. Nationally, states averaged $785 per student.

But from 2006 to 2008, Missouri's per-pupil student aid spending did increase to $503, which was closer to the national average at that time.

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Steve Baumann January 19, 2012 | 2:12 p.m.

If spending has been cut, how have all those new buildings and other improvements been paid for? I'm sorry, but there seems to of been quite a few grandious projects taken on during the same time period.

(Report Comment)
Jonathan Hopfenblatt January 19, 2012 | 4:08 p.m.

I'm guessing donors are a big part of that. They don't name buildings after people no one's heard of just because they feel like it, heh.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith January 19, 2012 | 5:58 p.m.

Well, let's see...

As the result of a funding drive, MU has $1 billion in private pledges. Much of the money will not be available until a later date (for example, from estate bequests) and some of it is intended only for specified items.

MS&T staged a similar funding drive aimed at raising $200 million*; last I've seen $227 million has been raised. The funds and their availability are subject to similar restrictions as funds pledged to MU.

Not long ago MS&T built a new student center (known at some campuses as a student union). No state funding was used to build and furnish the center.

I see this as how things are going to be in the future: If you want something badly enough, build and pay for it yourself. Is that how it SHOULD be? Maybe not, but that's how it IS!

I don't know whether UMKC and UMSL have done anything similar, but asume the Missourian could find out.

*- MS&T took MU's $1 billion goal and simply divided by 5, a reasonable ratio between the physical sizes of the two campuses and their respective student bodies. Hey, if you're dealing with engineers you know the solution is going to involve math. :)

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