Even With Missouri's Funding Woes, MCC Vows No Layoffs Or Further Tuition Hikes

Jul 17, 2017

Kansas City's Metropolitan Community College, like its bigger, four-year counterparts in Missouri, is hoping alternative funding may allow the school to handle state budget cuts without raising tuition or laying off staff. 

In June, Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens made more than $250 million in withholdings from the state budget because revenues were lower than anticipated.  Of that, $36 million came from a 9 percent reduction in higher education spending. For MCC, the loss in state funding totals more than $3 million. 

To make up for those lost funds, new MCC Chancellor Kimberly Beatty said the school will be seeking additional "revenue generating opportunities" through what she called "relationships that the college has," though she was vague on specific funding sources. 

"There are some other revenue generating opportunities that were preexisting that should be renewed this year that would help us manage the situation," Beatty said. 

Yet, Beatty said layoffs are not in MCC's plans. 

"The institution has suffered in the past in having to tighten the belt in personnel in the past," she said. "We're already a very lean institution."

Likewise, further tuition hikes appear to be off the table. MCC was already planning to raise tuition for this upcoming school year. The previous chancellor, Mark James, who retired in June, approved a decision to raise tuition by $6 per credit hour starting this fall.

Beatty, however, says she doesn't intend to raise tuition any further. 

"The last thing an institution of a board wants to do is to manage any cuts on the backs of the faculty or the students," Beatty said. "We've already raised tuition and it's not my expectation that we would be doing that." 

MCC's choice to pursue outside funding comes at a time when other institutions in the state are doing the same. 

UMKC recently announced plans to seek "alternative funding" for it's Downtown Campus for the Arts. Meanwhile, Mizzou is renting out empty dorm space as hotels during big campus events. 

Katie Bernard is KCUR's Morning News Intern. 

Editor's note: a previous version of this story incorrectly stated the financial impact of state cuts to MCC.