In the wake of a possible approximately 12.5 percent cut in higher education funding for fiscal year 2013, and ongoing discussion of tuition hikes and job cuts across the University of Missouri system in response, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has announced an amendment to his budget which would restore $40 million to public colleges and universities in the state.
The original 12.5 percent cut amounts to approximately $106 million.
So, where will the restored funding come from?
A statement from Nixon's office explains that the money will come from a settlement resulting from a suit against the nation’s five largest mortgage banks over fraudulent foreclosure practices. Attorneys general from all over the country took part, along with Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster.
Missouri's share is approximately $140 million. Out of this total state share, "the Governor’s budget amendment directs $40 million to Missouri’s public colleges and universities from the state’s General Revenue fund," the release states.
Nixon says the arrangements were in the works for months, but "were not yet certain" as the initial fiscal year 2013 budget was prepared. Nixon will meet with presidents and chancellors of Missouri's public colleges and universities on Thursday to discuss the amendment.
State Representative Ryan Silvey (R, Kansas City) chairs the House Budget Committee.
"I think it's a start," Silvey said. “(I’m) happy to see that the governor is finally starting to listen to the legislature and the people of this state that are demanding that higher education not continually get eviscerated as they have in their first budgets that he’s recommended.”
Nixon, meanwhile, has warned universities not to raise tuition as a means of closing any of their budget gaps. However, the University of Missouri System is considering tuition hikes for its campuses in Columbia, Rolla, St. Louis and Kansas City.