The University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg could see approximately $5.6 million less in funding during the 2019 fiscal year, due to budget cuts announced by Missouri Gov Eric Greitens.

In a press conference held Monday (Jan 22), Greitens announced his Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19) budget recommendations calling for across-the board cuts of 7.72% in gross appropriations for post-secondary education. His recommendation was part of a total reduction for higher education of $62.8 million.

A press release from UCM says that would mean approximately $5.6 million less in funding for the university during the next fiscal year. Total gross state appropriations are expected to be $50.1 million, of which 10% will be set aside and made available upon the institution’s success in meeting performance funding goals.

The amount of state support UCM will receive in FY19 drops to a level of funding last received in 2004, and continues a recent decline in net appropriations, according to the press release. For FY18, UCM received $52.7 million in state appropriations, whic fell below the $57.9 million budgeted net appropriation for FY17.

UCM’s forecast for tuition and state appropriations in FY18 –  which is bulk of its revenue – was approximately $138 million. This compares to an initial budget of $152.3 million for tuition and state appropriations for FY17.

In a letter to the campus community on Monday, UCM President Charles Ambrose said, “This is a very important starting point for state appropriations, not only for UCM but for all colleges and universities across Missouri. We look forward to working with the administration and the legislature to hopefully mitigate the loss and make the case higher education funding is required for the future of the state.”

Ambrose told faculty and staff,, “Our campus leadership will continue to work with all of you on the budget to address the impact this reduction in funding will have on the university, and additional information will be forthcoming as we move through our budget planning process for FY19.”

UCM has seen a 1.39% average annual tuition increase over the past seven years, with Ambrose saying, "UCM’s focus on student success continues to mean finding ways to keep students from shouldering the impact of these revenue declines which also means keeping tuition as low as possible while still maintaining a quality education."

UCM says the university also had the most aggressive completion agenda among its competitor institutions, with opportunities to create public K-12-higher education-business partnerships such as The Missouri Innovation Campus and Innovation Track programs that reduce the time to degree completion and students’ debt.

The press release notes, the university was the first institution in Missouri to implement the 15-to-Finish Scholarship concept, as a way to keep students on track toward timely degree completion. Such measures have helped the university to reduce the need for financial aid by 19.1% over a three-year period.

In-line with affordability, it was noted that roughly 40% of UCM students are eligible for Pell grants.

Ambrose added, “While our state faces budget challenges, higher education continues to be an exceptional asset in helping to meet economic goals, and we will collectively work together in cooperation with other institutions across the state to make sure our legislators hear this message. Our priority at UCM will continue to be student success and making education as accessible and affordable as possible. This mission and our position with the region allows us to grow and maintain momentum within the challenging environment we are addressing.”

Kurt Parsons