Yesterday’s announcement of the Governor’s FY19 budget proposal confirmed our concerns that, despite the benefit of providing a more educated workforce in Missouri, higher education continues to be identified as the sector capable of absorbing deep budget cuts. Cuts, that in my opinion, will lead to a compromised educational path for students in our state.

The Governor’s proposed budget would result in a core reduction of $2.4 million for Missouri Southern – taking us back to the levels of state funding we received before 2001. Additionally, we will face another $2.1 million withholding that can be earned back through the successful completion of six performance funding measures.

Unfortunately, this proposed budget announcement continues the trend of eroding state support for higher education across Missouri, which we have been experiencing since 2010. Over the course of nine years, we will have lost a total of $5.4 million in state funding. With the added burden of Senate Bill 389, which limits the amount of tuition colleges and universities can charge, it is a financial paradox with no easy solutions.

We continue to be hopeful and trust that the General Assembly will advocate for increased higher education funding. Missouri Southern is vital to our students, our region, and our economy. It’s no secret we have historically been underfunded in comparison to our peers. And, the potential for more cuts only magnifies this problem.

When discussing our state’s low national ranking for its investment in higher education, a former colleague once said “If we are not careful, we will be in a race to the bottom.”

To me, it appears we are winning a race where everyone loses.