Missouri Governor Jay Nixon is reaching out for financial help in an unconventional way for the State of Missouri.
Nixon has asked five Universities in Missouri to come up with a loan to the state totaling 100 million dollars. The first round of figures are as follows: Nixon would like the University of Missouri to contribute 63 million dollars. Missouri State University would contribute 13 million dollars. The University of Central Missouri, Southeast Missouri State University and Truman State University would contribute roughly 10 million dollars each all in an effort to help the state's budget for next year.
If this preliminary idea were to pass, the 10 million dollars Truman State would have to contribute, would come from their reserve funds. Each University keeps a reserve incase of emergency.
Truman State University President Troy Paino told KTVO in Kirksville, "I think what the Governor's office is trying to do is to figure out how to make up for the budget shortfall that they are anticipating for next year, without decimating higher education and without making higher education unaffordable for students."
Paino believes more ideas will be brough to the table within the coming weeks. He believes that this is part of the Governor's attempt to keep tuition as low as possible.
There is also the concern over student debt and the cost of getting a college degree. In addition to the loan proposal, the state is concerned about the budget for financial aid programs including: A Plus, Access Missouri and Bright Flight grants. Nixon wants to cut state funding for scholarships in half. If this proposal were to pass all Universities would contribute half of the amount that students are getting in the financial aid programs. Truman State University students receive 3.6 million dollars in Access Missouri and Bright Flight grants, so that would mean Truman State would have to return 1.8 million dollars to help fund those student grants.
This proposal is still preliminary, and the first of many ideas. The Universities will have a better idea about what the Governor proposes as a solution in January, when he submits his budget to the General Assembly.
Paino said, "I've already asked that we try to be as conservative as we possibly can with our spending pattern to try to hold back as much money, so we can absorb whatever cut we have to endure."
(Megan Wise, with KTVO in Kirksville, contributed to this article.)