Lionel Attawia, student governor of the Student Government Association, announced to the SGA on Monday that Missouri Western has earned $4.8 million from the state of Missouri for the 2014-2015 academic year.
This extra money was proposed by Gov. Jay Nixon in his State of the State address this year. Although the amount was approved by a vote of 31-3 in the Senate, it still has to go to the Missouri House of Representatives to be voted on again before being signed by Nixon.
Although the university has known about this money since the beginning of the semester, this was the first time SGA heard what the final amount was. Attawia explained how this funding is divided up.
“There is a pot of general revenue that the state of Missouri gets or accrues for for the fiscal year,” Attawia said. “There is a certain amount that goes to higher education as a whole. Depending on student performance, standards and benchmarks that are given to the state universities, they are given a certain percentage of that pot.”
Western was able to achieve all five benchmarks in each category that the state judges universities on. Attawia is proud of the progress the school has made in recent years in regards to earning this money.
“For whatever reasons we haven’t met those benchmarks in the past, but this year we actually met all five of the benchmarks,” he said. “Since we met all five we got the most [money] we can possibly get.”
This money will be dedicated for the purpose of maintenance and renovations of the campus. Attawia doesn’t know for certain where the money will be used yet.
“I think a lot of it will go to projects on campus, deferred maintenance and things of that nature. I know there is a priority list of things we need to get, not only off of the master plan, but things we have seen over time but have put off because we have had other priorities at the time,” Attawia said.
The decision of where this added capital is spent does not ultimately lie in the hands of students, though, since this is state money.
“This is university money,” he said. “This is money that was given to us by the state, so this is not money that students have to pay with a fee or anything like that. This is money that has been accrued by revenue in the state of Missouri. So students have no control over this, because it’s not collected from the students, it’s collected from the state.”
Attawia warned that the benefits of these funds may not be a big project that will immediately catch a student’s eye. These funds will likely be used for campus maintenance and upkeep.
“These projects will be be a lot of things that students won’t really see or notice,” he said. “Students won’t really notice it, but there are some huge projects it could take care of.”
With so many upgrades scheduled to occur on campus in the near future, this money will allow the university to keep up the facilities that we do have while keeping the possibility open to updating the campus further.
SGA President Daniel Hager was pleased to hear that Western received the full amount and is excited to see where the money might go.
“I know that this $4.8 million will help insure that we avoid deterred maintenance on campus and I assume that is to make sure that our campus is up-to-date and current, so that way we can initiate the master plan as we see fit,” Hager said.
Regardless of how this money is used, Western will be receiving some massive upgrades in the not-too-distant future, and being awarded this capital should only help that process.