- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 1, 2016

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - Two identical House and Senate bills have been filed to repeal a key compromise in a 2005 law granting name changes to Missouri State University and two other schools.

The bills would lift restrictions requiring Missouri State University to seek a cooperative agreement with the University of Missouri to offer engineering and doctoral programs before requesting state approval to open a stand-alone program, the Columbia Tribune (http://bit.ly/1LuocFs ) reports.

The bills would make it easier for other state universities to seek approval from the Coordinating Board for Higher Education to add graduate programs.

Backers of a 2005 name change succeeded in removing Southwest from the university’s name, expanding its mission statewide. Since that change, 42 programs have been initiated, including engineering programs with Missouri University of Science & Technology and dental programs with University of Missouri-Kansas City. The degrees are granted by the University of Missouri.

Missouri State University President Clif Smart says the bills shouldn’t be viewed as an attack on the university.

“We do think, particularly in southern Missouri, that we are losing people to Arkansas and other places,” Smart said. “The more opportunities we have to offer graduate programs, to keep them in the state and keep them well-prepared, the better. We don’t think this hurts the University of Missouri in any way.”

State Rep. Kip Kendrick said the bill is a direct attack on the University of Missouri and that opening the door for additional programs will strain already stretched budgets.

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Information from: Columbia Daily Tribune, http://www.columbiatribune.com

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