In efforts to conserve funds and ‘tighten the belt’ of Missouri’s economy, newly appointed Governor Eric Greitens has slashed approximately $55.9 million in higher education funding for four year colleges and universities throughout the state.
Of the $55.9 million, Missouri Western will see a $1.6 million withholdment of state allocations, effective immediately.
For the Fiscal Year 2016, state appropriations accounted for slightly over 41 percent of Western’s operating budget. Vice President for Financial Planning Cale Fessler anticipated a drop in state funding but was shocked at the overall amount being taken out of Western’s budget.
“We’ve had an inkling that something was going to happen [with state funding], but we didn’t know to what degree that might be. It’s bigger than what we were hearing initially,” Fessler said.
With the state allocations changing in the middle of the 2017 Fiscal Year, restructuring the budget will be difficult for administration and will require budget adjustments among all departments of the university.
“Departmentally, with position openings through attrition we will try to look at as much savings as we can, but there are no plans for layoffs or anything like that at this point in time,” Fessler said.
Fessler suggested that the state will most likely begin withholding approximately $325,000 per month throughout the Spring.
Greitens addressed the budget cuts in a video he posted on his to a twitter account Monday afternoon.
“You elected me because I’ll always tell it like it is, and more hard choices lie ahead, but as Missourians, I believe that we must come together, tighten our belts, be smart and wise with our tax dollars, and work our way out of this hole by bringing more jobs with higher pay to the people of Missouri,” Greitens said.
Alongside Western, other surrounding universities will see cuts to their state allocations as well; Northwest Missouri State University will lose $2.3 million, Missouri State University will lose $6.3 million and the University of Missouri Columbia campus will lose $13.6 million from their budget.