University of Missouri Plans for Cuts up to 8 Percent on Columbia Campus

Rudi Keller, Columbia Tribune, March 4, 2016

An enrollment loss of as many as 1,500 students and potential legislative cuts could result in an overall budget reduction of 5 to 8 percent for the University of Missouri’s Columbia campus.

The likelihood of cuts is the top agenda item for meetings of the Council of Deans, College of Arts and Science Dean Michael O’Brien said Friday. O’Brien is trying to protect course offerings and keep department chairs informed as the cuts’ magnitude becomes clearer, he said. O’Brien likely will have to keep faculty positions open to achieve the reduction, he said.

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MU Vice Chancellor for Finance Rhonda Gibler developed the budget projections based on a loss of tuition revenue, the statutory limitation on tuition increases and the likelihood of a cut in state appropriations, Mary Jo Banken, executive director of the MU News Bureau wrote in an email Friday.

The number of incoming freshmen is expected to drop by about 900, and total enrollment is expected to be 1,300 to 1,500 fewer than the fall enrollment of 35,424. {snip}

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Gibler’s projection for lost revenue is $20 million to $25 million, Banken wrote.

The Missouri House next week will consider an appropriation bill that cuts $7.6 million from the UM System administration’s allocation of tax dollars, or about half of the tax support for that university function. It would represent a cut of about 10 percent overall if not mitigated by adjusting campus budgets.

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Demonstrations over racism on campus that drew international attention and discontent among graduate assistants over health insurance and other issues contributed to the enrollment decrease, said Nicole Monnier, vice chairwoman of the Faculty Council and an associate teaching professor in the Department of German and Russian Studies.

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“We all understand that the forces of darkness are gathering, and there will have to be cuts next year,” she said.

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