COLUMBIA - A progress report on a funding strategy being developed for all of Missouri’s public four-year universities will be presented Thursday at the UM System Board of Curators meeting at MU.
The report details the main objectives in the development of a funding strategy as well as the framework used to evaluate each institution’s funding needs.
Those objectives include providing a realistic estimate of funding needs for each institution, creating a funding structure that anticipates decreases in funding and ensures that higher education costs are shared between the state and those that use university resources.
The Council on Public Higher Education study group has met a number of times to study a funding strategy since its inception in May and is in its “very preliminary stages,” council president Michael Nietzel said. Nietzel is also the president of Missouri State University.
“We are trying to find a way to adequately and fairly fund all public higher education institutions,” he said.
The study group is about a year away from having the specifics of a final funding strategy complete, Nietzel said.
Supporting existing programs and services, providing performance funding to reward improvement and continued excellence and strategic investments to support policy goals for higher education are the three comprehensive funding frameworks the study group will consider.
The governor and legislature precipitated the study group through the Coordinating Board for Higher Education, because they wanted higher education funding options to be further studied, Nietzel said. The final plan will be given to the coordinating board for consideration.
Diminishing state funding has been a primary cause of rising tuition rates the past few years. In April, curators approved a 3.8 percent tuition increase that went into effect systemwide this fall.
The curators will also receive an update on what campuses are doing to address the issues of intellectual pluralism. The report provided to curators defines intellectual pluralism as “the proper expression of both academic rights and responsibilities ... that explores a diversity of views and perspectives about complex topics.”
The report lists ways each campus can improve viewpoint diversity, including having a readily accessible Web site for students to register complaints about instructors and creating programs to inform students and faculty about intellectual pluralism.