Greitens announces cuts to UM System for 2018 fiscal year

The proposed budget cuts of up to $40.4 million will take effect on July 1.

A budget outline released by Gov. Eric Greitens on Thursday proposed cuts of up to $40.4 million to the UM System in the fiscal year 2018. The proposal comes after $20 million was cut from MU last month, which will take effect this semester.

The fiscal year 2018 budget will take effect July 1.

According to the proposed budget outline, some initiatives will receive no state funding in the 2018 fiscal year, including the University of Missouri Cooperative Medicine program and programs at other UM System schools.

“These cuts will make it challenging for the University of Missouri System to meet its critical statewide mission of educating our state’s future workforce, performing lifesaving research, and helping move Missouri’s economy forward,” MU spokesman Christian Basi said in an email. “We will be discussing short and long-term strategies going forward among the university’s leadership about specifics to address the decrease in funding, as we have in the past in these circumstances.”

In-state students are currently protected from tuition hikes by a state-imposed tuition cap that ties the price of college to the Consumer Price Index, but that cap may be adjusted in the future due to the budget cuts. For the time being, because in-state tuition cannot be adjusted to accommodate the loss of revenue from the state, universities will have to make up for it in other ways. These decisions will be made largely by campus chancellors and their staff, as well as UM System administration.

“As undesirable as the situation is, we really need to get thinking about whether affordability or quality is more important to us,” said Steven Chaffin, executive director of the Associated Students of the University of Missouri, a group that lobbies lawmakers on behalf of the UM System. “I don't pretend to know how to balance that trade-off.”

ASUM works to represent students by sitting down with lawmakers twice a week and having one-on-one conversations about technical and personal issues that affect college students.

“Declining funding for higher education impacts all UM students, and making those human costs clear to lawmakers is a central tenet of our program, each and every year,” Chaffin said.

Chaffin also said that while these recommendations should be taken seriously, they are just that — recommendations, and this is the first step in a multistage process.

“Some of these numbers are likely to change, and for the better, between now and then,” Chaffin said. “But it doesn't change the larger picture, which is that higher education is taking a real hit, and one we can't be sure will be remedied in the near future.”

Gov. Greitens’ office could not be reached for a comment on this proposal.

Edited by Madi McVan | mmcvan@themaneater.com

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