Missouri Southern State University budget includes furloughs, planned drop in state appropriations

JOPLIN, Mo. – Missouri Southern State University is having to make changes to it’s budget to accommodate a number of expected shortfalls.

Missouri Southern has had to make adjustments to its budget for the 2021 fiscal year. That includes taking into account an anticipated 10% drop in enrolled credit hours, and reduced state appropriations. Vice President of Business Affairs Rob Yust says “This budget process was more challenging than any other process we’ve gone through, of course we’re not unique in this situation, every institution across the nation is having the same issues and we just have to deal with them the best we can.”

Other reductions or changes include an early retirement incentive for faculty, as well as furlough days. However, if things don’t improve, or get worse, they may have to take more drastic steps. “We will definitely have to look at tightening our belts further and there’s not much more we can tighten which means that we will have to do extensive review of our employee, how many employees we have, and we have to look at additional furloughs if needed, and possibly layoffs, we hate to do that, that would be the last resort.”

Yust says that’s only a possibility, and as of right now, there are no planned layoffs and at this point student services will not be affected. Dr. Mikh Gunderman is an Assistant Professor, he’s also the president of the Faculty Senate. He says the furloughs won’t affect instruction. “Any furloughs that faculty are going to experience are going to be done on non-instruction days. So we’re looking largely at the end of December after commencement and in May after spring commencement as well.”

Despite the current changes and reductions, Dr. Gunderman is expecting things to proceed as normally as possible. “The faculty are going to maintain a exceptionally high expectations for our students and our learning environments, and we’re going to continue to do our jobs as we need to, the financial impact is absolutely going to be felt by faculty, but it’s not going to change how we do our jobs.”

However, he knows things could get worse, before they get better. “We’re under no illusions that this is going to be a quick fix, this is going to be something that’s going to take some time to move through as state withholdings may be reduced or hopefully not increased, so there is a bit of concern, but, we’re going to do the best we can under the circumstances we’re in.”

The furloughs only affect employees that make more than $30,000 a year.