COLUMBIA, MO (KPLR) – The University of Missouri has been trying to figure out how to make-up for a $55 million budget shortfall. One proposal includes the elimination of hundreds of jobs at the university.
Mizzou officials have to submit a new budget proposal in three days. They insisted the quality of a students’ education will not be negatively impacted.
“We’re going to tackle some really hard things,” said Dr. Garnett Stokes, interim Chancellor, Provost, and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at the University of Missouri.
Stokes spent a second day answering questions from Mizzou staff and faculty. Those really hard things she mentions were the millions in decline in revenue.
“It’s really the double whammy of two things converging,” she said.
The first whammy is fewer dollars from the legislature. The second is a drop in enrollment of 2,500 students, which translates into a drop in tuition payments.
“We have been hit with a problem of perception,” Stokes said.
The racial problems of 2015 are part of the negative perception. Enrollment is also down because there is a smaller U.S. population of potential students to draw from. And the Tiger football and basketball teams recently have not been big attractions for students who love college sports.
One way to make up for the decrease in funds is to cuts jobs. Approximately 400 positions will be eliminated. One half of those jobs are currently empty, 100 will come from retirement or attrition, and between 80 and 100 positions will be from actual layoffs. The chancellor wants to assure parents their children’s education will not be affected.
“When a parent comes on this campus … going to see is this institution with incredible faculty that are dedicate to our students and staff,” Stokes said.
Officials said there is some light at the end of the tunnel as far as enrollment.
“We do know that we are starting to see an increase in visitors on our campus who are coming to check us out. Many of those visitors are probably going to be enrolling of the fall of ‘18,” said Christian Basi, a university spokesman.