Missouri State University will remain a high-quality educational option offered at a competitive price, seek maximum flexibility with existing funding sources, explore alternative funding options and continue regular reallocation as appropriate.

Funding for the next five years will be a delicate balancing act for Missouri State. There are a multitude of factors to consider and several seemingly contradictory principles to resolve. The ultimate goal is to provide the resources for an excellent educational experience, while maintaining a competitive price for students.

Like most public universities, an increasing percentage of Missouri State’s new revenue will come from tuition and fees, with state appropriations remaining substantial — about $87 million in operating funds for the Missouri State system in 2015–16 — but increasing only at the rate of inflation. Given all factors in Missouri, including state law on tuition increases and legislative priorities, the greatest potential for additional funding for Missouri State is through enhanced student revenue.

Even so, alternative sources of revenue will become increasingly important. They include grants and contracts, proceeds from intellectual property, private support through the Missouri State Foundation and a wide variety of operational efficiencies, regular and strategic reallocation, and/or new sources of revenue. There will be special emphasis on growing private fundraising to the Foundation and the Foundation’s endowment.

The need to instill confidence

In recent years, the frequency and volume of the discussion about the value of a college degree has increased. Specifically, some question the return students and families are getting on their ever-increasing investment. But the discussion does not end there.

There also are differing views whether a college education is a private good, a public good or both. For the individuals and their families, research shows those with at least a bachelor’s degree enjoy significantly higher lifetime earnings, higher job satisfaction, better benefits and higher pensions, lower unemployment rates and better health, to name just a few advantages. In addition to developing an advanced-level workforce, a more college-educated citizenry produces lower rates of incarceration, more tax revenue without increasing tax rates, lower unemployment, less dependence on public assistance, and more volunteering and voting.

To sustain or increase funding of all types, Missouri State must help instill greater confidence in the value of higher education among decision-makers, donors, funding agencies and the general public.

History of state funding

Over the past 25 years, no Missouri university has grown and developed more than Missouri State. Selective admission was instituted in the early 1990s, the statewide mission in public affairs was approved in 1995, the number of graduate programs tripled and the number of graduate students doubled in that time, the name was changed in 2005, several additional professional doctorates have been added since 2005, the amount of research and scholarly activity has expanded significantly, and total headcount enrollment on the Springfield campus has grown from 19,523 in the fall of 1990 to 22,834 in the fall of 2015, an increase of nearly 17 percent.

Despite Missouri State’s maturation into a comprehensive university, the state of Missouri’s funding model has been a "base-plus" model since the late 1970s. This model means base budgets were essentially set in the mid-1970s and today’s funds are largely allocated across-the-board with little or no consideration for enrollment or array of academic offerings.

Finally, in the early 2000s, the Missouri General Assembly placed a limit on the amount tuition and fees could be increased in any one year for in-state undergraduate students, statutorily limiting tuition and fee increases to no more than the rate of inflation without requesting and receiving a waiver approved by the Coordinating Board for Higher Education.

While a new statewide public higher education funding formula has now been developed that accounts for size, level of programs, graduate programs and other factors that will benefit Missouri State, it will take several years for it to impact the university’s budget in a substantial way.

Balancing contradictory goals

On one hand, Missouri State intends to maintain its position as a high-quality educational option offered at a competitive price. Being affordable has been a guiding principle for the institution since its founding. Keeping the cost affordable allows maximum access to all students who qualify academically and desire a college education. In addition, it helps minimize loan debt for students, a growing concern at all levels of government.

On the other hand, the university is committed to providing an excellent educational experience for students. That requires attracting, retaining and appropriately compensating faculty and staff, and providing the facilities, technology and other infrastructure support required for a 21st century higher education.

Strategic priorities

  • Continue to offer a high quality education at a competitive price.
  • Seek to ensure the long-term financial vitality of the university.
  • Demonstrate responsible stewardship with respect to human capital (faculty, staff and students), university operations and capital maintenance.

  • Advocate for equitable state funding consistent with Missouri State University’s size, mission and scope.
  • Allocate resources as appropriate to fund the core mission.
  • Continue to grow the endowment in the Missouri State University Foundation.

University goals

  • Maintain strategic growth in enrollment while increasing retention and graduation rates.
  • Improve total employee compensation (salary and all benefits).

  • Identify and support alternative funding sources appropriate to the mission, such as program delivery for specialized groups and intellectual property development.
  • Invest strategically in activities that raise the profile of the university.

Performance indicators

  • Faculty/staff
  • Sustainability and financial efficiency
  • Funding