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University of Missouri System asking state lawmakers for more funding

COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)

The University of Missouri is asking lawmakers for an increase in funding.

UM System President Mun Choi is asking for the $416.2 million in state funding lawmakers approved last year, plus an extra $8.3 million to account for inflation.

According to the university, the extra funding will be used to complete deferred maintenance projects across the university system.

Spokesman for the UM System Christian Basi said the funding would help continue the growth they've seen over the past few years while keeping costs for students down.

"As with any business, any organization any household we also experience inflationary pressures," Basi said. "Every little bit that they can provide to us, that takes off pressures of student costs."

UM is also requesting another $10 million for Columbia campus' NextGen Precision Health Institute, a “precision medicine” center in Columbia. The state has already given $10 million to the UM System for the institute.

Choi is also asking for $9.1 million for the MoExcels program, which helps students through workforce development.

State Rep. Chuck Basye, R-Rocheport, was at a meeting with system leaders last week where the ideas were presented. Basye said he supports what the university has proposed.

"There's a lot of need all over, but I think it's doable," Basye said. "Projections look pretty good from what I'm hearing from the budget people, so hopefully we'll be able to help out higher education."

Basye said the NextGen Institute would bring more money into the state and play a key role in cancer research.

"It's going to be a great revenue generator with a lot of good high-paying jobs," Basye said. "That spreads out through the whole community, and it should spread drive economic development."

While he supports more funding for the university system, Basye said it will depend on how the budget dollars fall.

"There are competing interests, there are other higher-ed facilities that some of my colleagues think a lot of," Basye said. "I think we've gotten through that in the past and I think we might be able to do something this year hopefully."

President Choi released a statement Wednesday praising the governor's proposed 2021 budget.

“On behalf of the University of Missouri System, I’m extremely grateful for Gov. Mike Parson‘s support of public higher education and our four universities within the UM System. The governor has shown through his words and actions that he is a fierce proponent of higher education and recognizes that Missouri’s future depends on having an educated, prepared workforce."

Mun Choi, President of the University of Missouri System.

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Connor Hirsch

Connor Hirsch reports for the weekday early evening shows, as well as Saturday nights.

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