Grapevine publishes an annual compilation of data on state support for higher education funding from Illinois State University. Researchers say that Missouri public colleges and universities have received a modest increase in their state funding over the past five years, with a slightly larger boost for 2019-20.
A Wide Range of Fiscal Support for Universities Nationally
Nationwide, public higher education institutions averaged a 14.7% increase in state funding over the past five years. Nevada ranked first with a whopping 44% increase, while Alaska suffered devastating funding cuts of 22%. That figure had originally been slated for 40%. At one point the University of Alaska system was nearly forced into a state of financial exigency, or bankruptcy. Currently, an additional $70 million must be slashed from the U of Alaska’s operating budget over the next 3 years. This will result in program cuts, massive faculty layoffs, and threats to the system’s regional accreditation. That’s an example of higher education funding at its worst.
Higher Education Funding: How Does Missouri Compare to Our Neighbors?
States that border the Show-Me State have seen small increases (4%) in state funding over the past 5 years. Tennessee leads the pack (+34%) and Oklahoma has fallen behind (-19%). Missouri showed a very modest 2.3% increase in funding as shown in Table 1:
Table 1: State Higher Education Funding for Missouri & Surrounding States
Missouri’s higher education funding levels over the past 5 years have kept it in the middle of the pack nationwide, and this year’s increase in appropriations bumped it up to #27. That said, when looking at the data through a per capita lens the Show-Me State fares far worse, ranking #46 in the nation for FY2019. That’s not good, and it needs to be fixed. Missouri lawmakers must realize the tremendous impact that an educated society has on the quality of life. Everything is impacted, including a state’s economic health and workforce supply. It’s time to make higher education funding a priority in Missouri.
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