In compromise, legislators limit cuts to UM System and MU

Tuition across the UM System will not increase for the 2016–17 school year.

Missouri legislators agreed Wednesday in a conference committee to forgo any budget cuts to MU and limit a cut to the UM System to $3.8 million.

Drawing close to their deadline of passing the fiscal year 2017 budget, legislators have been debating in recent months what to cut from the UM System budget, considering at one point cutting $7.6 from administration and $1 million from MU.

Now, the system administration will receive a $3.8 million cut and MU will have no cut. The university system will also receive a 4 percent increase for performance-based funding, a compromise between the 6 percent increase that all other state-funded universities are receiving and a House-approved 2 percent increase.

The committee also decided to no longer require a tuition freeze. Despite this, presidents and chancellors from the 13 state-funded campuses met last week and agreed to not seek a tuition increase because of the performance-based funding increase. UM System spokesman John Fougere confirmed that the UM System’s tuition will not increase next year, but he said a date has not yet been set for the Board of Curators to approve tuition.

Altogether, MU and MU Extension will receive a combined $218 million for fiscal year 2017 compared to fiscal year 2016’s budget of $220 million.

In a statement following the conference, interim UM System President Mike Middleton said he was pleased with the budget, according to the Columbia Missourian.

“We deeply appreciate that the legislative conference committees appropriated $17.12 million for our performance funding, allowing the university to continue the invaluable service we have been providing unabated to the state in terms of education, research and economic development for decades,” Middleton said in the statement.

Middleton also said the $3.8 million cut from the administrative budget means that “much work remains to restore confidence and trust in our leadership, which we will continue to do by being completely transparent, accountable and fiscally responsible in our actions.”

In the budget, $750,000 is allotted to an oversight commission to independently examine the UM System’s structure, proposed by Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia. The resolution has not been passed by the House yet.

Despite the lack of cuts by the legislature to MU, the campus is still making budget cuts of its own due to a $32 million shortfall. The decrease in funds comes from a projected drop in enrollment of 1,500 students for fall 2016.

Edited by Taylor Blatchford | tblatchford@themaneater.com

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