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Curators approve $3.4 billion budget

By Roger McKinney GateHouse Missouri
Posted: Jun. 21, 2019 10:56 am

The University of Missouri Board of Curators on Thursday approved a $3.4 billion budget for 2019-20 and a five-year financial plan that projects an increase of $100 million in revenues from tuition generated by enrollment growth and new programs system-wide.


The meeting was in Memorial Student Union.


About half of the revenue is from University of Missouri Health Care. Tuition and fees total $561 million and state appropriations total almost $420 million.


Spending in the budget totals $3.23 million. About 63 percent of that is spent on employee pay.


The five-year plan was presented by Ryan Rapp, vice president for finance, and Charles Kim with Kaufman Hall and Associates, a contract consultant.


"I think in the past, we were thinking about how do we balance the budget," Rapp said.


The five-year plan establishes metrics and targets. It wouldn't replace the annual budget, but inform it, he said.


It includes a target of 2.4 percent annual growth at MU and 5 percent at MU Health Care.


Kim said new revenue is vital to financial performance.


"Expense management is great," Kim said. "But ultimately you can't shrink your way to success."


He said success of the plan would depend on accountability. A meeting of the board's Finance Committee where the budget was unveiled last week included information about incentives and consequences in the plan, but specifics were to be revealed at a future meeting.


"It's a clear roadmap," Kim said. "I think it's a really good starting place."


Curator John Phillips asked what new programs would be used to increase tuition revenue.


Kim and Rapp said those include scholarships and student retention efforts.


"That is the largest piece of what is driving the plan on the academic side," Rapp said.


"A big focus on enrollment growth is retaining the students we have," said UM System President Mun Choi.


The plan doesn't rely on increases in state appropriations, Rapp said.


"We're looking to where we see the potential for revenue growth," he said.


The board approved a fiscal year 2021 state appropriation request for operations of nearly $508 million.


It also approved a capital appropriation request of $168.7 million, including $75 million for the Translational Precision Medicine Complex. A groundbreaking ceremony for the high-priority medical research center will be held on Friday.


During a news conference after Thursday's meeting, Choi said that the budget and five-year plan represent a strategic focus. There would be less duplication of services so the university could re-invest into critical areas, including scholarships.


Ryan Rapp also indicated there's a lot of hard work ahead.


"Higher education is changing and will change in the future," said board Chairman Jon Sundvold. "We all in higher education have to change our focus on where we're going and how we need to get there."


In an information technology update, Gary Allen, retiring vice president for information technology, said a simplification of the UM System computer network would be complete by Aug. 1.


"We'll save $300,000 alone in infrastructure," Allen said.


The board approved resolutions recognizing Allen and Chief Equity Officer Kevin McDonald, who also is departing.


"This is hard work," McDonald said. "I think it's a fantastic foundation that's been laid here."


rmckinney@columbiatribune.com

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