On the first day of their two-day meeting in Columbia, system curators approved the new budget, which reflects more than $35 million in cuts. About $1.1 billion, or 40 percent of the total budget, is for instruction and comes from state support and tuition at the four campuses.
System President Tim Wolfe said that wading through a sluggish economy with shrinking state support has forced system leaders to question how much more they can cut without gnawing away the university foundation.
“The University of Missouri System has continued to operate very efficiently for the past decade, but at the point where the quality of your mission is in jeopardy, it is no longer a badge of honor to do more with less,” Wolfe said in a prepared statement. “We must ensure that our budget is aligned with the strategic objectives of the university that are most critical to our mission of teaching, research, service and economic development.”
David Bradley, board chairman, said the system has to “stop spending in areas that are no longer strategic.”
The new budget invests 8 percent or $12 million more in financial aid to students. The budget also includes salary increases of between 1 and 2 percent, with individual awards based on merit, promotion, tenure and the market.
The total savings were made by shaving $11.5 million from salaries by leaving some positions vacant and eliminating 180 others. Cutting and consolidating programs saved an additional $8.1 million. And reducing funds for research, financial aid management and auxiliaries, such as the University Press, which is being closed this summer, saved about $6 million. About $9.7 million is new revenue, some of which were gifts to the university system.