State budget cuts yield discussion about tuition hike

Feb 1, 2017

Northwest prepares for state cuts, taking care in crafting beneficial plans for students and staff.

Gov. Eric Greitens announced his plans for cutting $67 million in core funding to four-year schools Jan. 16.

Since then, the Northwest Leadership Team has been working on solutions and strategies to work with Northwest’s planned cut of $2.2 million. Student Senate, along with Faculty Senate and staff council, are also being included in the conversation.

Student Senate President Hannah Sears was given the opportunity by the administration to join the recent conversations about budget cuts to higher education in Missouri. Sears said she wants people to engage with her organization to get student opinion in the open.

“We crave the presence of productive and vocal students that want to engage in the discussions that most directly impact the student body,” Sears said. “We value diversity in thought and perspective, and encourage students to attend our meetings or follow our agenda through social media platforms. The primary goal we set for ourselves this year was to be transparent and accessible to every student, every day.”

Sears said the Student Senate is prepared to share students’ opinions on the budget, but wanted people to recognize the challenges that lie ahead for Northwest.

“The administration, through the implementation of the strategic plan, strives daily to keep the Bearcat experience affordable and memorable,” Sears said. “Simply put, we have some extraordinarily passionate and dedicated people vying on our behalf to keep higher education attainable for all who desire to reap its benefits. The administration is determined to exhaust every available option before financially burdening the students.”

Vice President of Finance Stacy Carrick says Northwest has seen a decrease in funding at the state level already in years past.

“What’s happened over the last 20 to 30 years is a shift in funding,” Carrick said. “A lot of states have turned to higher education, and looked at higher education and the overall state budgets as discretionary funding. They have begun to decrease funding at the state level. It has forced institutions to look at ways to increase the tuition and fees.”

Carrick said Northwest is doing the best it can in being resourceful to lessen the impact on students with an increase in tuition.

“It is a constant challenge and something we make sure we are looking at when we are minimizing increases and doing our due diligence,” Carrick said. “To expect no increase is probably not reasonable.”


Published February 1, 2017 @TheMissourian

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