Why does higher education in Missouri always seem to be on the chopping block?

Once again, Missouri state lawmakers are proposing steep budget cuts for higher education. This year’s proposed budget cuts to the University of Missouri System are only the latest chapter in a trend of decreasing state funding to higher education. It’s happening nationwide, and in Missouri, it began more than two decades ago.

Gov. Eric Greitens released his proposed budget on Feb. 2, suggesting a $159 million cut to higher education from what the legislature appropriated last year. That was the single largest cut of any state department in the proposed budget.

Experts say state lawmakers have cut higher education throughout the country because it’s an easy target.

Legislatures consider funding for higher education discretionary, or non-mandatory, and lawmakers can cut funds to universities knowing that they have alternative revenue streams.

Universities can rely on students and donors for some of their funding, unlike other government programs that depend solely on state money.

UM System Board of Curators said tuition increases are a possibility to mitigate the effects of Greitens’ proposed budget cuts.

Read more: Columbia Missourian

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