Missouri Western has lost $11 million over the last five years. That’s a very large number, and it suggests that we, as students, should be upset at the university for this deficit. While I agree that there should be anger, it should not all be directed at the University. The state of Missouri and the state appropriations given out to higher education schools deserves some blame as well.
State appropriation is the amount of money the state of Missouri gives to higher educational schools like Missouri Western. In 2018, Missouri Western received $20,609,352 from the state. For comparison, in 2010 the university received $22,880,701. When factoring in inflation, that 2010 figure equates to $26,452,343. That means Missouri Western is receiving roughly six million less from the state than they were eight years ago.
It is very difficult to construct a budget that meets all the university’s needs when experiencing these kinds of cuts. As recent as 10 years ago, Missouri Western’s state appropriations accounted for 70 percent of the budget. In 2018, it accounted for 37 percent. This requires Missouri Western to rely on tuition and fees to properly fund the university. With these numbers, it is almost surprising the university is not losing more on an annual basis.
Since the recession, state appropriations across the country have been effected, not just Missouri. The Chronicle wrote a piece earlier this month and had this to say.
“Nationally, state appropriations, on average, fell more than $2,000 per student in the years after the recession,” the report said. “And remain nearly $1,000 below their pre-recession levels.”
Colleges continue to grow, but now still suffer from the recession. Receiving $1,000 less per student from the state than 10 years ago makes it difficult on all schools. Schools are struggling to find ways to overcome such a drastic loss in funds.
Unfortunately, this means universities are going to continue raising tuition and making cuts until more money comes in from the state. It’s the easy way out, but there aren’t a lot of other options for Missouri Western to do at this point.
Again, this is not to suggest that we should not be upset. Get angry. Missouri Western is losing money and trying to find ways to raise tuition and make cuts. Just recognize that it is not all their fault, and schools all around the country are losing money as well. It’s a way bigger issue that goes beyond the $11 million in the red.