Funding higher education costs in Missouri
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Funding higher education costs in Missouri

Date: December 3, 2008
By: Jon Cecero
State Capitol Bureau

Intro:  Missouri college students are feeling the pressure of a lack of state funding for higher education. With Missouri's government in the midst of a budget crisis students may not be given the relief they need.

Jon Cecero (SIS-er-oh) has more from Jefferson City.

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 Jenn Ballard, a junior at the University of Missouri, is struggling to afford her college education.
 
Last semester she had to work two jobs to afford tuition while balancing 18 hours of classes.
 
Actuality:  BALLARD1.WAV
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Description: "Because it is already challenging enough to go to school, especially at a University, and to financially balance that is very challenging for someone who is trying to put school first as their number one priority."  

Ballard said she has paid for a semester and a half on her own but has accumulated more than nine thousand dollars in debt.
 
Higher Education took a big hit in 2003 when the legislature cut funding for state schools causing tuition to sky rocket.
 
The Missouri Higher Education Department's deputy commissioner Paul Wagner stressed importance of restoring state funding to relieve pressure on students.
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Run Time: 00:17
Description: "The Product that the student or parent is buying is going to start to erode, you can't keep up buildings, you can't pay faculty what they're worth, you can't keep enough staff around so that's really the crux of it- is that students and parents are asked to pay more and more while at the same time they are getting less and less."

Education committee chairman Rob Mayer said Missouri's budget is not likely to include a fund increase for  higher education.

The Republican Senator said he will work with Governor-elect Jay Nixon to help increase the amount given to colleges.

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Description: "Well obviously I would like to see our funding at a higher level than it is now, however under the budget situation that were looking at at the present time, probably a dramatic increase will not occur in the upcoming budget."

According to a 2006 report by former State Auditor Claire McCaskill, Missouri tuition costs are rising faster than inflation and personal income.

In her report McCaskill said for the fiscal years of 2005 to 2006 Missouri's nearly six thousand dollar average tuition rate was the highest among the Big 12 States.

Reporting from the State Capitol, I'm Jon Cecero.


Intro: The Director of the Missouri Budget Project said the state has to make drastic changes if it hopes to fund higher education.

Jon Cecero (SIS-er-oh) has more from Jefferson City.

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This year Missouri college students may have to empty their pockets to pay tuition bills.

Executive Director of the Missouri Budget Project Amy Blouin says the top priority for the 2009 budget is education.

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Description: "Missouri has work to do on its revenue structure, actually evaluate and modernize the revenue structure in the state so we can fully meet our needs and one of those needs that should be a priority is higher education funding." 

Blouin said finding new ways to save in the budget could create the extra funds to relieve rising education fees.
 
Reporting from the State Capitol, I'm Jon Cecero.


Intro: A member of the Missouri Higher Education Department said the state needs to do more for families struggling to pay tuition costs on the rise.

Jon Cecero (SIS-er-oh) has more from Jefferson City 

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As college tuition goes up in Missouri the state has set up more scholarship opportunities for students.

Even with new scholarships Paul Wagner of the Missouri Higher Education Department said it is not enough to help families in need.

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Description: "I can't help but think there are a lot people who really do struggle with the costs, even though there is a lot of aid available and a lot of other tools available to families who want to send their kids. But it still is a significant burden to families."

Wagner said he is worried for families who are not working and failing to keep up with increasing education costs.

He said it has become harder for parents to meet tuition costs even when they know the benefits of sending their kids to college.

Reporting from the State Capitol, I'm Jon Cecero.