MARYVILLE — If all goes as planned, this year’s legislature might consider a proposal that would make Northwest Missouri State University the fifth campus in the University of Missouri system after all.
In September, the presidents of the institutions cited the complexity of negotiations when they said they would delay asking the legislature to consider a merger.
But now, Northwest President Dr. Dean Hubbard said a document describing how the merger would work has been completed and is being forwarded for final consideration to the University of Missouri Board of Curators. The curators planned to discuss the draft memorandum of understanding at a meeting Thursday.
Northwest Missouri State’s Board of Regents could meet with the curators for the first time to discuss the memorandum of understanding in mid-February, Hubbard said.
“If everything works the way we hope it will,” Hubbard said, “we will have a joint meeting and at that point it will be forwarded to the legislature.”
Northwest has about 6,000 students at its campus in Maryville. The Missouri system has about 60,000 students spread across campuses in Columbia, Rolla, Kansas City and St. Louis.
As the draft now reads, Northwest Missouri State would be renamed the University of Missouri-Northwest. The school’s Board of Regents would become a “Board of Trustees” and serve in an advisory capacity.
The draft also discusses several issues directly affecting students. According to the draft, tuition and admission standards would not be automatically raised to equal those of other University of Missouri system campuses. Also, if the merger is completed, Northwest will offer targeted and selective doctoral programs under the same conditions as other system campuses.
Funding also has been an issue with Northwest’s Board of Regents. According to the draft, the University of Missouri system will assure that the Maryville school won’t experience an arbitrary reduction in funding.
The memorandum states that the appropriation provided to Northwest by the state at the time of the merger will be transferred to the University of Missouri system and in turn will be allocated to Northwest.