Nikki Krawitz, the UM System’s vice president of finance and administration, along with several other higher education institution representatives spoke in front of lawmakers Wednesday to present their need for state funding.
Krawitz and several other higher education officials told lawmakers they supported Gov. Jay Nixon’s proposal to base funding increases on performance. On Monday, Nixon proposed a $150 million budget increase for education with $34 million going toward higher education that would be determined by a performance model developed by the Missouri Department of Higher Education to go into effect in the upcoming 2014 fiscal year.
“This is good for our university and it’s good for our state,” Krawitz said.
The UM System met 100 percent of the performance-based criteria and the new funding model would result in a 3.3 percent state appropriations increase from last year for the system.
Even though Lincoln University only met 60 percent of the performance-based criteria, Lincoln University Interim President Connie Hamacher agreed with the UM Systems support of Nixon’s education funding recommendation.
“Lincoln is eager to have discussions on funding formulas,” Hamacher said.
Krawitz said the UM System educates many of the state’s skilled workers, which increases costs for the system.
“It’s expensive to provide quality professional education,” Krawitz said. “But we do it because it’s our mission and it’s in our DNA.”
Krawitz told the Appropriations for Education Committee that Missouri and past lawmakers have invested in the UM System’s mission for 175 years.
“They understood the importance of the support that allows us to fulfill our unique mission,” Krawitz said.
Earlier in the hearing, Truman State University President Troy Paino presented a different view about a performance-based formula. Paino told committee members that he is worried the focus of such a formula would’t be on quality learning but on the amount of degrees produced.
“My concern about any kind of funding formula that is backward-looking in terms of credit production is that it will put us back in the 19th and 20th Century,” Paino said
Paino said such a formula would focus on producing degrees instead of preparing students for jobs in the 21st Century that aren’t even known to universities yet.
Krawitz said that the UM System is showing their value to the state everyday by bringing $250 million of resources into Missouri.
The UM System has experienced a 34 percent enrollment increase since Fall 2000 adding more than 19,000 students to their campuses, Krawitz said.
“That’s like adding a new four-year campus to the state,” she said.
With increased enrollment, the UM System campuses have found it difficult to maintain functional facilities. Krawitz told lawmakers that the St. Louis campus has buildings that were built 50 years ago and require maintenance.
Krawitz reminded lawmakers that System President Tim Wolfe spoke last year in support of performance funding as long as the UM System’s unique mission and the cost associated with that mission are taken into consideration. Wolfe was unable to attend because of an orientation for new Board of Curator members.
The education committee is working on a performance-funding formula that differs from the one currently used by the higher education department.
House chair Rep. Mike Lair, R-Chillicothe, said a formula that would determine how higher education funding would be based on performance hasn’t been released yet. Lair said two House bills about the formula will be presented to the full budget committee on Feb. 21 and eventually sent to the House floor.