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Lincoln University, State Tech take another financial hit

by Phillip Sitter | June 7, 2020 at 7:05 a.m. | Updated June 7, 2020 at 11:18 a.m.
<p>Construction continues Friday on State Technical College of Missouri’s Civil Construction Technology Center, being created by renovation of the campus’ Multipurpose Building and a newly-built connection with the neighboring Heavy Equipment Operations Building. The college said construction progress has not been affected by state budget withholds amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo courtesy State Tech.</p>

The latest state budget withholds Lincoln University and State Technical College of Missouri face amid the COVID-19 pandemic's economic fallout are not as large as previous withholds, but both institutions will feel the effects.

Gov. Mike Parson announced last week that $209 million in budget restrictions for the month - getting the state through the remainder of the 2020 fiscal year - would include $41 million withheld from the Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development.

The $41 million restriction included $34.1 million from four-year institutions and more than $6.8 million from community colleges.

For LU, that means $800,724 will be withheld this month.

For State Tech, that means $281,626 will be withheld.

The latest budget withholds to higher education in Missouri due to diminished state revenues caused by the pandemic follow $76.3 million more in higher education withholds that Parson announced in April - including more than $61.3 million from four-year institutions and more than $11.6 million from community colleges.

The earlier restrictions basically shaved a month of state support from institutions' budgets for the remainder of the fiscal year - a one-twelfth reduction in higher education funding for schools.

The same sort of thing happened again last week with the latest withholds, when Missouri Commissioner of Higher Education Zora Mulligan said the state would withhold all of what it would have paid higher education institutions this month.

LU spokeswoman Misty Young called the university's $1.4 million withhold in April "devastating."

"The current and previous withholds have greatly impacted our budget," she said last week of the latest withholding.

Young did not immediately provide more details of the effects of the latest withholding, but the earlier withholding prompted a hiring and spending freeze, and LU has already been discussing possible faculty cuts with its faculty union.

The reasons for those discussions included further anticipated cuts to the state's funding in the next fiscal year, which starts July 1, as well as projected declines in enrollment for the summer and fall semesters.

The faculty union has since proposed a plan to try to avoid layoffs.

"Faculty contracts for the current fiscal year ended in May," Young said. "Any discussions regarding faculty relate to the FY 2021 budget."

LU's Board of Curators is set to vote on a budget for next year June 11.

The university's administration has said the school is in no immediate danger of closing its doors.

State Tech spokesman Brandon McElwain said the college does not plan to cut any programs or employees due to the latest withholds.

State Tech President Shawn Strong said in April that the college had instituted a spending freeze before that month's withholds of more than $487,000.

McElwain said last week that the hope is to absorb the latest withholdings with a larger first-year class of students in the fall.

The latest withholdings also will not impact construction projects underway on campus that had ground broken earlier this year, he said.

Among other institutions facing budget withholds in the latest round of restrictions, the University of Missouri System will lose more than $18.6 million this month.

Missouri State University is having more than $4.2 million withheld this month; the University of Central Missouri, almost $2.5 million; and Southeast Missouri State University, more than $2 million.

Truman State University is having more than $1.8 million withheld this month from the latest restrictions; Northwest Missouri State University, more than $1.4 million; more than $1 million each for Missouri Southern and Missouri Western state universities; and Harris-Stowe State University, more than $470,000.

In terms of 12 community colleges' withholds this month, St. Louis Community College is set to take the largest hit, more than $2 million.

Ozarks Technical Community College will lose more than $680,000. State Fair Community College in Sedalia will lose more than $297,000.

More details on the latest and previous state budget withholds for the 2020 fiscal year are available at The withhold amounts per higher education institution listed above were obtained from the Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development.

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