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House Panel Approves Higher Education Funding Proposal

A House panel this week approved legislation that would set out five performance measures for public universities and colleges and would direct more money into scholarship funds. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports.

The bill sets out five performance measures that all higher education institutions except vocational and technical schools would have to meet.

The bill sponsor is Republican Representative Carl Bearden of St Charles.

Rewarded accordingly could mean increased funding. But Bearden's bill addresses the funding issue as well...Under his proposal, once lawmakers fund universities and colleges at the same level they were funded in 2001, when they received the largest state appropriation ever, they would not receive additional funding.

At that point, additional higher education dollars would go into scholarship programs...Once scholarship programs are mostly funded, then lawmakers would be able to consider giving additional dollars to colleges and universities.

Bearden says this will force universities to prioritize their spending.

Bearden says that no university or college went on record in opposition to his proposal when it came up for a public hearing.

The Assistant to the President of Missouri State University says he does have some questions about the bill...about whether the limit on funding increases takes inflation into consideration...As for performance measures, Missouri State officials don't oppose that because the school already has its own performance measures in place.

Springfield Republican Representative Bob Dixon says he likes the idea of letting schools choose three of the five performance measures required under Bearden's bill.

Now that the bill has committee approval, it moves to the House floor for debate.