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Dodging a budget bullet


Steady growth in student enrollment, stringent cost-cutting efforts and a bargain struck with Gov. Jay Nixon, BA ’78, JD ’81, to freeze in-state, undergraduate tuition in exchange for only a small reduction in state funding have helped Mizzou avoid the kind of drastic budget cuts that have forced other flagship universities to cap their enrollments, lay off or furlough faculty and staff, and cut programs.

While some state agencies saw their appropriations slashed in the budget Missouri lawmakers passed April 29, 2010, MU and other public universities settled for a 5.2 percent cut in state funding. At Mizzou, that will mean a $10 million reduction for the 2010–11 fiscal year that begins July 1.

This year, the campus received $189 million from the state. 

Although the university pledged to hold tuition flat next year for Missouri resident undergraduates, in April the Board of Curators approved a 5 percent increase in non-resident tuition, a 2.7 percent bump for graduate students, and tuition increases for law and veterinary medicine students. Those increases will add $5.2 million in tuition revenue for MU. 

There is one bright note in MU’s budget picture: Through salary savings and other cost-cutting measures, the campus has built up a $9 million one-time reserve fund and another $11 million in ongoing funding that could be used to help plug budget gaps. The bad news: Mizzou might need that money sooner than expected if state tax revenues continue to tank and Gov. Nixon is forced to cut even more from the state budget.