Institution presidents ask lawmakers for more money to fund repairs and academic programs
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Institution presidents ask lawmakers for more money to fund repairs and academic programs

Date: January 29, 2014
By: Steven Anthony
State Capitol Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY - Six top college and university officials from around the state came in front of lawmakers and stressed the need for more higher education funding.

The University of Missouri and Lincoln University praised Gov. Jay Nixon's budget increases to higher education funding by $80 million next year during their testimony in Wednesday's House Education Appropriations Committee hearing.

Lincoln University President Dr. Kevin Rome described his school's financial situation to lawmakers.

"We are struggling. " Rome said. "If we look at our resources, they have been diminishing over time instead of increasing."

Since Lincoln is a land-grant university, they receive a certain amount of money from the federal government.

Rome said they receive $6.5 million from the government and he chided the state for not matching the government's grant. 

"We haven't been matched at 100 percent of that number, which impacts the institution," Rome said.

Tom Richards, who represented the University of Missouri System, echoed Rome's situation.

Richards told lawmakers the four campuses that make up the UM system need $1.3 billion over the next few years to repair academic buildings.

"We've been forced to cut," Richards said. "In some sense, we're doing a lot more with less."

Other university presidents testified and they touted their school's accomplishments.

Harris-Stowe University President Constance Gully said her school has the number one most affordable bachelor's degree in Missouri, and Missouri Western State University President Robert Vartabedian noted his school's excellence in science.

Northwest Missouri State University President Dr. John Jasinski said including laptops in his school's tuition rate saves students money in the long run and, like Vartabedian, he talked about his school's excellence in science.

Rep. Lyle Rowland, R-Cedarcreek, drew some laughs when he asked Dr. Jasinski a question about his school's football coach.

"Do you and your football coach walk on water?" Rowland asked.

Rowland was making a reference to Northwest Missouri State winning the Division II football championship this past December.   


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