Senate proposes funding increase to UM System

The proposed bill differs from a previous House budget, which would have cut MU funding significantly.

The Missouri Senate Appropriations Committee voted to increase funding to the UM System Monday, the exact opposite of the House of Representatives’ decision last month.

MU will avoid a cut to its base allocation and will only lose $1 million in taxpayer support for the administration.

Furthermore, the UM System as a whole will receive a $55.8 million increase in funding tied to performance, which Gov. Jay Nixon proposed last September. Nixon’s proposed increase was on the condition that all state universities would freeze tuition costs for the following year.

This spending proposal comes in light of a Missouri state revenues report, released April 4, which indicated that net year-to-date state revenue has increased 4.2 percent compared to revenue at this point in 2015.

The spending plan approved in the House was significantly different than the one proposed in the Senate. According to the Columbia Tribune, MU was allocated $434.6 million, with $5.7 million based on performance.

The spending plan approved in the House would have cut that funding to $426 million with no share in performance funding. That spending plan was approved in the wake of MU’s handling of race-based student protests in November, which gained national attention when the football team announced its intentions to refuse participation in any athletic activities pending the resignation of then-UM System president Tim Wolfe.

Supporters of reducing funding to MU cited the student protests during a committee hearing. Sen. Rob Schaaff, R-St. Joseph, proposed the $1 million cut to administration, as that would have been the amount forfeited by MU had the football team not participated in the scheduled game against BYU.

In a statement, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, said, “I don’t think anyone in this process wants to do anything negative to students who pay the tuition or the staff who cuts the grass.”

Having passed the Appropriations Committee, the bill now awaits a vote in the Senate.

Edited by Taylor Blatchford |

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