Last Wednesday, Governor Parson announced his state budget recommendations for fiscal year 2023 (beginning July 1, 2022) and proposed significant new investment in Missouri public higher education.
While it’s encouraging for Missouri Southern to have the following items included in the governor’s budget proposal, it is but the first step in a five-month legislative process. At any point in both House and Senate, the recommendations detailed below could be altered for any number of reasons. After robust discussion in both legislative chambers, the final budget will be sent to the governor for his approval. The ultimate legislative outcome for Missouri Southern and the items below will not be known until early summer 2022.
Major items in the proposed higher education budget, along with potential impacts on Missouri Southern, are listed below:
- A 5.4% core budget increase for all public higher education institutions: This would translate to an approximately $1.4 million increase for MSSU.
- $31 million in funding for MoExcels projects: MoExcels funding will facilitate development and expansion of employer-driven education and training programs to increase educational attainment and career opportunities for populations historically underserved by higher education. These projects are competitively ranked by the Coordinating Board of Higher Education, and MSSU could potentially receive $767,732 in one-time funds to the Center for Digital Media and Virtual Production. The grant requires a 50% match from the university. Thanks goes to the Art and Design, and Communication departments for developing this proposal. MSSU received two previous MoExcels grants for the Environmental Health Department and the ACACIA Center.
- $475 million in capital investment in higher education: The governor’s budget included a “transformational” capital project for each institution, while challenging each university to provide a 50% match from sources such as philanthropy, federal funds from community partners, in-kind contributions, etc. In alignment with regional demand and the vision developed by a group of MSSU faculty and staff, led by interim Dean Erica Wight, the governor’s proposed budget includes a $30 million project—a Health Science Innovation building—for Missouri Southern. In the months ahead, the university will seek the $15 million matching funds, further shape the building concept and advocate with the Missouri legislature for funding of the project.
“I am extraordinarily grateful for Governor Parson’s proposed investment in public higher education and the future of Missouri,” said Dr. Dean Van Galen, university president. “During these challenging times, it’s heartening to know that he has made it a priority to invest in our ability to ensure the success of our students while bolstering our ability to meet their needs.”