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Missouri universities brace for state budget cuts

As the state continues to slash millions of dollars from its budget, education taking a big hit, it is hurting universities already having to make cuts due to the pandemic.

Posted: Jun 8, 2020 10:22 AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) University presidents across Missouri knew more cuts would be coming.

“The state is withholding several million additional dollars,” Missouri Western State University President Matt Wilson said. “You have to think, ok what adjustments do you make, where do you cut to try and balance your budget and move forward.”

The state announced more than $40 million in cuts to secondary education Monday, June 1, meaning another $1 million cut from Missouri Western’s budget.

“We have looked to reduce expenses and really not only kind of cut to the bone but we’ve looked to balance personnel things and this just presents another challenge to us,” Wilson said.

Governor Mike Parson warned the university presidents, but it doesn’t make it any easier.

“We have done what we can over the last three months of this fiscal year to try and minimize that impact and we’ve had to take some pretty severe actions with respect to personnel and programs and the like,” Wilson said.

Colleges and universities across the state face many of the same problems during the coronavirus pandemic, but the problems also existed before.

Missouri Western officials knew this round would hit and they have been planning for it but now they are turning to their donors and their foundation while keeping an eye to the next academic year.

“What are enrollments are going to look like, whether or not we have students in our residents halls or just on campus, meal plans, what the athletic season might look like, and then also what the state budget might look like as well,” Wilson said.

Wilson added the university will have to wait and see if the state withholds any more funding in July which also marks the beginning of the next fiscal year.

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