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July 12, 2012 Volume 33, No. 34

UM System budget allows for $26 million for strategic priorities


System budget complicated by state’s changing agenda in recent months

It’s been a topsy-turvy six months for the state’s higher education funding. For the University of Missouri System and Mizzou, that’s resulted in a sort of bad news-good news scenario.

The bad news is that the UM System is making fiscal cuts based on higher education state-funding estimates made in March. 

The good news is that in June the state adjusted the March numbers to give more money to Missouri higher education. The system is using the funds to bolster priorities on the four campuses.

Last January, Gov. Jay Nixon, BA ’78, JD’81, unveiled his $23 billion state agenda for fiscal 2013 that included a 12.5 percent cut to Missouri’s higher education compared to the previous fiscal year. In March, Nixon reduced it to 7.8 percent. 

Even though on June 22 Nixon accepted the General Assembly’s recommendation of a flat budget for higher education and a 1 percent withholding, it was too late. The UM System had balanced its numbers based on the proposed March state budget.

“Balancing a budget is about making difficult choices,” said David Bradley, chair of the UM Board of Curators, which met June 26–27 in Columbia to, among other things, approve the new system budget. 

It will result in “position eliminations, program consolidations and eliminations, and reductions in planned investments,” Bradley said.

Mizzou’s budget shortfall was $14 million, based on Nixon’s March agenda. According to the MU Budget Office, among the university cuts for fiscal 2013 were,

• eliminating or leaving vacant staff and faculty positions, $2 million;

• eliminating the transfer to Athletics for debt service, $750,000;

• reducing support of the Office of Research, $200,000;

• cutting the insurance budget, $500,000;

• cutting the Chancellor’s Academic Fund, $500,000;

• cutting Mizzou Advantage allocation, $350,000.

Other ways to stanch the MU budget gap were through drawing on $7 million from tuition revenue related to enrollment growth in recent years, and the revenue enhancement of $2 million from Mizzou Online, Budget Director Tim Rooney said. 

Now the good news. 

Because Nixon’s June 22 revision of the budget sliced state funds by only 1 percent rather than 7.8 percent, the UM System ended up with $26 million to use for strategic priorities, UM System President Timothy Wolfe said in a statement June 26. Mizzou’s share of that money is $11 million.   

The MU priorities are likely to include 

• merit-based raises for faculty and staff; 

• building maintenance and repair; 

• and student priorities, such as financial aid, student success programs, and student research and entrepreneurship. 

“Enhancing the student experience, rewarding faculty and staff based on merit, and fixing our buildings are wonderful uses of these funds,” Rooney said.



To read a story in this issue about the record-breaking freshman enrollment for fall, click here: