MSU Budget Recommendations Include 8 Layoffs, Reductions for Online Instructors

May 2, 2017

Missouri State University has identified how it will fill the remaining $4 million gap in its Fiscal Year 2018 budget.

The figure includes $2.8 million from non-academic and provost’s areas, and $1.2 million from the academic colleges.

The recommendations, which come from the Executive Budget Committee, including cutting eight occupied staff positions, and eliminating another 27 vacant faculty and staff positions.

MSU President Clif Smart speaking at the school's budget town hall in April.
Credit Ryan Welch / KSMU

The committee also calls for reducing the online course incentive payments for instructors from $55 to $40 per student. Officials received support for the idea during last month’s budget town hall. In addition, MSU will end institutional support for multiple campus research centers, and reduce event-related expenses by eliminating the Ozarks Celebration Festival, the length of the Public Affairs Conference, and summer commencement, among other university events.

In a memo to MSU employees Tuesday, President Clif Smart said he’ll present the proposed cuts to the Board of Governors at its regular meeting May 18.

“By focusing on vacant positions, we were able to eliminate staff and faculty positions largely through attrition. However, these cuts will involve eight staff layoffs. We know layoffs dramatically impact lives, and we anticipate that several of these individuals will find other positions within the university,” said Smart.

Smart added that the recommended budget will likely place the university further behind with regard to faculty and staff pay, noting there will be no cost-of-living increase for employees. He also acknowledged that the online course incentive reduction will result in compensation decreases for some faculty.

“I know I speak for all members of the Executive Budget Committee when I say that we do not take layoffs and compensation concerns lightly,” said Smart. “I am saddened by the impact these decisions have on people who have invested their careers with us at Missouri State. However, I am confident that the reductions are necessary to sustain the financial health of the university. I remain committed to continuing to work on increasing compensation as we move forward.”

The $4 million in proposed cuts, combined with the $3.4 million in anticipated revenue from a recently approved tuition hike, makes up for the $7.4 million in reduced state funding for the Springfield campus. Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens recommended cuts to higher education after inheriting a state budget shortfall.

Enrollment growth in Springfield has partly eased some budget cutting decisions. In his memo, Smart expressed optimism given the outlook for this fall’s student population.