Senate Approves Higher Education Budget

This story was written by Andrew Denney, The Maneater
The Missouri Senate unanimously approved its version of the state budget for higher education on Wednesday.

From next year's proposed $1.2 billion budget, the UM system would receive more than $450 million for its operating budget.

No amendments were proposed for the legislation, which passed with no dissenting votes and two absences. The spending bill would need approval from a joint committee of House and Senate members to discuss changes made by the Senate before the measure is fully approved.

Senate spokeswoman Steph Reed said the bill constituted at 6.2 percent funding increase to higher education from last year.

Several higher education programs would receive less funding this year than was recommended to them by Gov. Matt Blunt.

Senate members did not reintroduce the Preparing to Care initiative, a program Blunt recommended for state funding, into the bill. The initiative, which would have given $13.4 million to Missouri colleges and universities to increase the number of health care professionals in the state, was left out of the House version of the bill after proposed amendments to secure funding for it were voted down.

The Access Missouri financial assistance program was allocated $76.5 million in the Senate version of the bill. Blunt originally recommended $100 million for the program, the amount approved by the House.
© 2008 The Maneater via U-WIRE