Northwest Missouri State University is one of many universities across Missouri that will be implementing a new operating model due to budget cuts to higher education. Because the Missouri Academy of Science, Mathematics, and Computing is located in and funded by Northwest Missouri State University, this institution has also found it necessary to implement a new operating model in order maintain its same standards of excellence while accomplishing a stated mission. For Northwest Missouri State University, this implied taking such measures as laying of 20 employees, merging departments into 11 instead of the previous 19, and cutting a degree program, among others. For the Missouri Academy, this implied leaving 3 positions vacant and increasing the amount of tuition paid by domestic students by approximately $5,000 or more precisely from paying 20-43% of the total cost of education to paying 48-71% of the total cost of education at the Missouri Academy. This will prevent the Missouri Academy from offering the excellent education it provides to those students who are not of good financial standing.
Governor Nixon stated in the 2011 Summit of Higher Education "the performance funding formula should be the basis for allocating future funding increments to the institutions [of higher education]." With this in mind, it is necessary to evaluate the effectiveness of the Missouri Academy and the reasons why it should have funds allocated for it by the state government.
The Missouri Academy has two goals: 1. Prepare students for continued success in higher education in the areas of science, mathematics, and computing. 2. Provide a solid foundation of education, integrity and quality and thus, to enable its graduates to have a lasting positive impact on society. This school accepts students both domestic and international from 10th grade at their traditional high schools and seeks to fulfill these goals with students from all over Missouri. This state-wide mission is one that benefits Missouri, not just Northwest Missouri State University, and should therefore receive more support from the state. The evidence for this lies in the success of the students who come to this institution.
All Missouri Academy alumni graduate with a Northwest Missouri State University GPA of 2.5 or greater. The majority of each class from 2005 to 2011 maintain a GPA of 3.0 or above. At least 86% of the graduates from the Missouri Academy from 2005-2011 have met college readiness benchmarks in Reading, Mathematics, Writing, and Science, compared to less than 30% of other Missouri students meeting the same standard. Approximately 100% of Missouri Academy graduates matriculate to four-year institutions, and of these graduates 67% matriculate to Missouri universities. The remaining students go on to a wide diversity of universities including Harvard University, Yale University, the United States Naval Academy, and many other prestigious institutions.
Throughout all of this, the Missouri Academy emphasizes community service, campus participation, and integrity and quality be displayed by the students in attendance. The Academy has completed all of these accomplishments with students above and below the poverty line. This institution has maintained high standards of education since it was created in 2000. The institution requires only $700,000 to maintain its previous model of operation which has been shown to result in very good graduate statistics. The FY 2012 General Revenue Available Spending demographics allocated $790 million for higher education. This is clearly enough to cover the operation of the Missouri Academy, which has been shown to integrate high school students across Missouri into higher education with great success. It is believed, then, that this funding should be set aside for the Missouri Academy by the Missouri state government in order to allow all Missouri students to be able to partake in this excellent education no matter their financial status.
Governor Nixon outlined a goal in the 2011 summit on higher education to give greater weight to revise funding to give greater weight to measurement and performance from institutions of higher education. Budget cuts have forced universities to reorganize their operating models to meet this new standard. The Missouri Academy of Science Mathematics and Computing is a high performing institution that deserves funding to operate at this excellent level of performance.