The University of Missouri system will pick up about half the extra $20 million appropriated Tuesday for higher education.
Nikki Krawitz, UM system vice president for finance and administration, said the university is glad the state recognized the need to increase higher education funding.
Krawitz said the amount will bring the total state appropriations for fiscal year 2005 to a little more than $400 million. This is more than last year’s amount of $388 million but still less than what the system had received in times of fiscal stability.
The money won’t open a tuition discussion, Krawitz said, but it could influence the amount of financial aid the system offers and the setting of tuition for next year.
In the past three years the state has cut or withheld $148 million from the system’s budget.
Over the past two years, as a result of a nationwide economic downturn, state appropriations across the country have decreased by 4 percent, as reported by the Center for the Study of Educational Policy at Illinois State University.
The center’s data show that Missouri decreased its funding for higher education 14 percent since 2002, one of the largest decreases in state funding for higher education in the nation.
To make up for these cuts many universities have resorted to large tuition increases. A study by the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education shows that in the last year the average tuition increase at four-year public universities was 10 percent. At the UM system, the increase was double the national average; the 20 percent jump followed a 14.8 percent increase for the fall of 2002.
Beginning this summer, educational fees, or tuition, will go up another 7.5 percent.
Historically, state appropriations have made up the bulk of the funds the university had at its disposal. This fiscal year was the first in which tuition revenue made up a higher chunk of the budget.
This trend is likely to continue into the next school year, Krawitz said.