Missouri Western has made many tough decisions in the past few semesters, including new and increased fees, cuts to certain majors and new additions with new facilities being built. All these changes have been done to try and benefit the university’s budget.
Vice President of Finance & Administration Darrell Morrison has been working hard to improve and keep Missouri Western’s budget at a stable point. Morrison said that financially, the campus is doing better than it was a year ago with cash balances slightly higher.
“We're moving ahead and it looks more favorable than it has. However, our enrollment numbers are down so we'll need to work on recouping that,” Morrison said. “I think Covid has impacted students that wanted to live on campus, and voted to take classes closer to home rather than going out. I think the second thing though is the demographics are changing. There's just not as many highschool graduates as a few years ago.”
One way the university has gone about improving these finances is phasing out low enrollment programs and letting go of some of the professors teaching them. There has also been a slight increase to fees for students this semester and new parking fees for professors and students alike.
“If the inflation rate is 1%, then we'll try to keep up with the inflation rate because if we don't, we lag behind and at some point you gotta catch it up,” Morrison said. “That makes for a dramatic change so you know, we will try to ratchet it up as minimal as possible. It takes so much to teach and educate, keep facilities and things like that going.”
Students have already felt the impact of the changes made to help the university’s finances. Among these students is Matthew Kline, previously a cinematography major who is now undecided. Matthew said that it seemed like a weird choice cutting majors to save money.
“It's odd for them to cut so many classes. Basically if it wasn’t nursing or business it was most likely cut,” Kline said. “I understand they have to have a self-sustaining system in order to work as a school, but there's more to life than cubicles and scrubs. Evidence of a particular field of work not generating enough income should be no concern, if classes were too small for certain majors then they should just offer less time for the class to be taken to assure it’s full.”
It is currently too early to tell just how much of a difference recent changes have made for Missouri Western, but the impact of these changes will determine the university’s future plans for the budget.