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Curators modify LU budget

Curators modify LU budget

September 8th, 2017 by Bob Watson in Local News

Lawmakers this year gave Lincoln University an extra $2.5 million to match federal money for LU's land grant mission, prompting LU Curators on Thursday to add $1,949,190 to the school's current operating budget.

When the curators adopted Lincoln's current budget in June, lawmakers already had sent the state budget to Gov. Eric Greitens, but he had not yet approved it.

Chief Financial Officer Sandy Koetting reminded the curators Thursday, most of the additional land grant money wasn't included in the school budget the board approved June 8, because "we certainly weren't optimistic on the results of the increase in the land grant allocation."

The federal land grant program sends money to designated universities in each state, for agricultural research and instruction with a requirement the schools get local matching money, generally on a dollar-for-dollar basis.

Koetting told the curators Lincoln is eligible for about $7.1 million in land grant money each year, and since 2008, lawmakers have been putting some money into Lincoln's core budget for a land grant match.

The amount fluctuates from one year to the next, depending on the school's total state appropriation, she said.

But, even with this year's state total of $3.1 million in matching funds, Koetting reported, "we're about $4 million shy" of the total matching funds needed.

"We still will be sending money back" to the federal government.

Koetting told LU's Faculty Senate members in February that Lincoln administrators had shifted about $43 million in funds within the school's budget since 2000, so they could pay for more of the state's local match than lawmakers were providing.

And, she told the curators Thursday, school officials also regularly have asked the federal government for waivers of the matching rules, to get more of the available federal money.

But those waivers don't cover all the available money, forcing LU to return money to the federal government.

Curator Herb Hardwick, of Kansas City, asked Interim President Mike Middleton — based on Middleton's experience last year as the University of Missouri System's interim president — how Lincoln could urge lawmakers to provide more funds.

Middleton said part of the answer is all the universities in the sate could use additional funding.

Lawmakers also need to understand Lincoln's unique role in the state, he said, as both a land grant research university and an open admissions school that needs, "I think, significantly more resources to serve the needs of students who are less-well-prepared academically."

Middleton later said the state's tradition of "funding the universities on a per-student basis necessarily results in the smallest schools always getting the least amount of money — without regard for how much money it takes to teach those students."

Lincoln has the second-smallest student population among Missouri's 13 four-year university campuses.

But, Middleton noted, Lincoln was founded in 1866 with a mission of serving people who had been given little or no previous educational opportunity. That remains the core mission today.

The Curators also approved the Faculty Senate's request for two changes in Lincoln's Rules and Regulations — allowing the Senate to have non-voting representatives from both the Staff Council and Student Government Association attend and participate in the Senate's monthly meetings.