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the Cross Reference

I wonder what size handcuffs Missouri Governor Jay Nixon wears? He faced another budget shortfall for the next budget year and proposed covering it with money borrowed from some of the state universities. It was sort of borrowing from the state supported schools that know how to manage money to support a state that cannot stay within its budget.
Imagine if you went into your bank and demanded they loan you their cash reserves or you would refuse to make your car loan payment. They would have a good laugh. Now imagine that you are in a position to really make it happen. Now no one is laughing, and that is extortion.
Merriam Webster: Extorting: To obtain from a person by force intimidation, or undue or illegal power. The definition fits because Nixon wanted to borrow the money or he would cut those same universities’ state allotment.
Some universities caved under the pressure and were willing to go along. The lawmakers however saw the futility of borrowing from the state to support the state. Also, the payback was to come from Missouri student loan collections. Those people haven’t received enough money to pay for their own expenses much less pay the state any real dividends from student loan repayments.
The result is Missouri’s universities will face a third year of drastic budget cuts. This is happening when Missouri Western State University’s enrollment is at its highest. People are looking for a better education to enter the shrinking job market. Some non-traditional students are returning to school to increase their income to cover spiraling expenses. Some are returning out of desperation to borrow student loan money to pay the family’s bills.
This has made the enrollment at most institutions of higher education reach record levels. The costs of educating those people have also reached records levels. While the budget decreases the cost of insurance, utilities, professors, administration, building maintenance, and staff are increasing. The bubble will pop.
In the mean time administration hasn’t handed out a raise in over four years. Most building maintenance that can be deferred has been to the point that it is becoming obvious if you look around campus and know what you’re looking for.
Staffing numbers at Western have been reduced to levels of 40 years ago. Students are being forced into larger and larger classes that reduce the amount students retain. The one-on-one session with the professor is getting smaller and smaller. The quality of education has nowhere to go but down.
I predict the next area to be cut at Western is in the student services area. The quality of the education is too important. To maintain educational quality universities might make the difficult decision lower student services. Most of the student services are not related to the core goal of quality education. They are an important benefit but aren’t necessary to learning if the student is properly self-motivated.
If the only things a university offered were classrooms, educators, and support staff with minimal administration students still could get a quality education. Isn’t that what a university is supposed to do?

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