Missouri State University is aware that the Coordinating Board for Higher Education (CBHE) officially submitted a flat state appropriations request for Fiscal Year 2014. For Missouri State, that means a state appropriation of $78,549,463. However, Missouri State respectfully requests consideration of the “alternative funding proposal” submitted by the CBHE: a 3 percent increase for performance funding and a 3 percent increase for the core budget. These increases are reasonable and will help higher education achieve the ambitious goals the state has set for it. Finally, Missouri State respectfully requests that state appropriations be held to the highest possible level and that public universities be permitted to implement reasonable tuition increases.
Funding half of any increase based on performance is an important policy decision for the state because it will help ensure confidence among students, parents, and the public at-large. Basing the other half of any new money on factors such as growth, level of coursework and mission are appropriate. For example, Missouri State is the second-largest university in the state, a selective admission institution, and has the fourth largest number of graduate students (3,195). Since 1996, Missouri State’s enrollment has grown by more than 32 percent – from 17,442 to 23,071. So, if Missouri State were funded at the statewide average for appropriation per full-time equivalent student (FTE) – excluding the University of Missouri System – it would mean an increase of more than $17 million for the university.
Of the total $825,000 would fund a new master’s program in Occupational Therapy on the Springfield Campus. This program, which has the support of the Springfield medical community and community leaders, will help meet a critical shortage of therapists, not only in southwest Missouri, but throughout the state. Twenty-four students would be enrolled in each year of the two-year program, for a total of 48 students. The $500,000 at West Plains would be used to enhance the nursing and respiratory care programs, and initiate a new Associate of Applied Science in Allied Health-Certified Nursing Assistant program.
The completion of Phase I of the Facilities Reutilization Plan (FREUP) remains the University’s highest capital priority. These projects, totaling approximately $16.9 million, were part of the Lewis and Clark Discovery Initiative. Missouri State respectfully requests that this funding be released so these important renovation projects on the three campuses can be completed. Missouri State also believes there is value in establishing an effective ongoing process for meeting the capital needs of higher education. Finally, Missouri State encourages funding for the matching capital law that was enacted last year.