Lawmakers mull higher education funding formula

Missouri News Horizon

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri’s universities would need to show better performance to get additional state funding, if lawmakers approve a new funding formula that was unveiled on Monday.

Legislation was announced in the Senate Education Committee by State Sen. David Pearce, R-Warrnesburg, that would force universities to compete for a portion of additional state funding.

“I just think that we need to hold our universities accountable,” Pearce said. “We as a state need to determine what we think are important things that they should be doing and then reward those universities that are doing a great job.”

Pearce said the standards are a work in progress, but he would like to see some kind of a funding formula in place by the end of the legislative session. Some of the criteria involved in the formula would include the number of research programs, the amount of funds given to helping students make it through school, and the percentage of funds a university spends supporting its faculty.

“It really is based on nothing except for historical funding,” he said. “If certain increases are given, they all get an increase. If certain decreases are given, they all get a decrease the same amount, with no indication whatsoever of performance funding.”

Gov. Jay Nixon called for a similar reward system during his State of the State address late last month.