Government distributes $39.4 million to state universities

Tuesday, October 16, 2007 | 12:57 p.m. CDT; updated 10:59 a.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

JEFFERSON CITY — The state distributed $39.4 million Monday as the first installments of Gov. Matt Blunt’s higher education initiative.

A new law promoted by Blunt calls for the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority to pay the state $350 million over several years, the bulk of which is to be spent on dozens of college construction projects around the state.

The loan agency made its initial $230 million payment to the state last month.

The first portion of that money has been distributed by the state to fund several projects:

  • $16.5 million to the Southeast Missouri State University River Campus.
  • $8.5 million to the Missouri Technology Corp., which in turn is to distribute the money to other projects linking university research and businesses.
  • $7 million to the Northwest Missouri State University Plant Biologics Center.
  • $4 million to St. Charles and East Central community colleges.
  • $3.3 million to the University of Missouri-Rolla Engineering Building.
  • $26,972 to the Harris Stowe State University Children and Parent Education Center.
  • $22,273 to Missouri State University.
  • $6,250 to the Truman State University Pershing Building.

The payments to four-year universities are intended to reimburse the schools for expenditures already made on projects, the governor’s office said. Community college payment amounts are set at $2 million and distributed by request.

A lawsuit by student borrowers had sought to block the transfers by claiming the money should instead be used to reduce interest rates and forgive student loans. A Cole County judge refused to issue a temporary restraining order last month, but the lawsuit is pending.

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