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University of Missouri looking at several budgeting scenarios

Concerns over the state budget have prompted the University of Missouri to prepare for the possibility of serious budget cuts.

State representatives and the university are watching the numbers for the fiscal 2020 budget closely. In a talk at the Columbia Chamber of Commerce last week, Democratic state Rep. Kip Kendrick said revenue is down about 8 percent.

Part of the problem stems from errors in tax withholding tables which the state corrected in September. As a result of the error, some Missourians will not receive a tax refund, but will instead owe money.

University of Missouri spokesman Christian Basi said the university is looking at several scenarios in case the state’s budget does not reach projected growth by the end of the year. He said it is too early to determine exactly what the university’s budget will look like because it is dependent on both the state’s budget and enrollment. He also said the university has to take into consideration bills on higher education such those introduced by House Democrats on Monday.

Democratic state representatives introduced a group of bills Monday to help students pay off student loans more easily and get in-state tuition.

Rep. Kevin Windham introduced a bill to help students receive funding through the A+ scholarship program. Windham said the bills introduced will help provide at least some protection for students, even if colleges and universities face budget cuts.

“Mostly in terms of financial attainability, it falls on the state’s lap and we’re taking it upon ourselves to make sure that we’re looking in the right direction for attaining higher education,” Windham said.

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