Truman State University will begin the 2020-21 academic year with a budget of $85.4 million, a $9 million decrease from last year.
This smaller budget is a result of state government withholding and a smaller student body. With fewer students on campus, the University is getting less money from tuition and fees.
Dave Rector, vice president for administration, finance and planning, said the state appropriation was reduced to the amount Truman received last fiscal year, $35 million. Last year the University was granted $39 million from the state, but that was then reduced by Gov. Mike Parson who withheld $5.2 million.
Rector said he had projected a cut this size, so he worked to create a budget that would reflect that loss in funding.
“It was a pretty drastic cut,” Rector said. “It’s the lowest operating budget we’ve had in about 10 years.”
Rector explained that most of the budget cuts have been accounted for by staff and faculty turnover, retirements and resignations. While the University did furlough some staff for the summer — such as bus drivers, secretaries and lab technicians — these staff members have been brought back to campus for work and Rector said he doesn’t anticipate more furloughs unless it is necessary to shut the campus down again.
Rector said the Governor is being conservative with the state appropriations because current state income trends are still unclear.
The auxiliary budget, which is used for the Student Recreation Center, the Student Union Building and the residence halls, is made up primarily of student fees and will thus be reduced by $4.9 million.
Rector said some of this decrease in the budget can be accounted for by paying for less food and not needing to hire more cleaning staff with fewer students on campus.
Rector said there are some reimbursement possibilities for some of the money the University has spent on COVID-19 safety measures and the costs associated with shifting to online classes.
“It’s not good news for the budget to be this low,” Rector said. “So far we’ve been able to absorb it with our turnover, retirements and so forth.”
In addition to restricting the appropriation to Missouri universities, Gov. Parson also restricted funding for the Bright Flight Scholarship, which is awarded to the state’s top scorers on the ACT. Most of the Bright Flight scholarship awards were cut in half.
Rector said students should contact the Financial Aid Office if their Bright Flight Scholarship has been reduced and they need financial assistance. With nearly $1 million that was cut from Bright Flight Scholarships on Truman’s campus, Rector said the University cannot cover those cuts, but could offer assistance to students looking for alternatives.