- Associated Press - Thursday, May 12, 2016

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - Enrollment at the University of Missouri is expected to decline by 2,600 students in the fall, causing tuition revenue to drop by more than $36 million.

Officials say that will hurt an already poor budget situation and make it likely that the financial challenges would continue for several years as the smaller class makes its way to graduation.

“It is not just a one-time hit,” said Neil Olson, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine. “It is a recurring hit for the deficit you get in one year, unless you magically get 1,500 more sophomores, and that is just not going to happen.”

Rhonda Gibler, vice chancellor of finance, laid out the budget difficulties at a meeting with the university’s Council of Deans on Friday.

“We will have several years in a row we have to do some reduction in our budget,” Gibler told the Columbia Daily Tribune (http://bit.ly/1rIolww ). “It is impossible to predict how much we will rebound in the next fall. We can’t take this as a small bump in the road and that we will be back to business as usual.”

Gibler said campus departments have been told to plan for 5 percent cuts to general fund budgets for the fiscal year beginning July 1 as well as 2 percent cuts ordered for fiscal years 2018 and 2019.

“We won’t know for some time if 2 percent is a solid number,” Gibler said. “It is probably not; it will probably be something different from 2 percent.”

The tuition revenue decline is estimated to be $36.3 million, up from an earlier projection of about $20 million. The total budget shortfall is more than $46 million, up from $32 million when interim Chancellor Hank Foley ordered the 5 percent cut in February.

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

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