The University of Missouri system Board of Curators and its counterparts at Northwest Missouri State University meet today to approve a joint resolution that will help make the Maryville school the fifth campus in the system.
UM’s curators and Maryville’s Board of Regents have separately approved a 15-point memorandum of understanding, identifying the main concerns of bringing Northwest into the system. The curators voted on the memorandum unanimously at the end of January. The Northwest regents voted 7-1 in favor last week.
James Johnson, regents president, said he doesn’t expect any further discussions or disagreements.
“I think everything is pretty well done,” Johnson said.
He said he expects today’s meeting to be a formality. After both boards agree on the memorandum, the Missouri General Assembly has to approve the merger. The joint resolution formally asks the state to consider the merger and assist the universities in perfecting the transfer.
Johnson said the merger proposal will come before the legislature this year and that he hopes it will pass.
Joe Moore, UM system spokesman, said no specific plans have been announced but the ideal scenario would see the merger approved this year.
Rep. Chuck Graham, D-Columbia, said that success in front of the legislature hinges on the support of Rep. Brad Lager, R-Maryville.
Lager said he would like to get as much information as possible and get “all the ducks in a row” before making a decision about whether the merger can be taken to the floor of the General Assembly. There would be enough time for the legislation to pass, Lager added, but the time has to be used right.
Merger talks started last April and have been delayed a couple of times. This would be the first addition in more than 40 years to the four-campus system of Columbia, Rolla, Kansas City and St. Louis.
The memorandum addresses issues such as Northwest’s name, educational fee differences, the future of the regents and the differences in admission standards.
Northwest will be called University of Missouri-Northwest and its board of regents will take an advisory role.
Last week, the regents approved an educational fee increase, from $161.50 per credit hour to $177.50. UM system students currently pay $194 per credit hour.
Northwest is 90 miles north of Kansas City and enrolls more than 6,500 students. The UM system enrolls about 60,000 students.