Northwest Missouri State University’s Board of Regents unanimously approved the university’s 2019-20 budget totaling about $123.3 million during its regular meeting on June 20 and began the process to place a possible bylaw amendment to the rule of succession of the Regents.

The budget reflects projected increases in enrollment as well as a $1 million increase in state appropriations, a tuition increase for undergraduate students approved by the Regents during its March meeting and no increases to student fees.

Northwest Vice President of Finance Stacy Carrick emphasized the university’s efforts to address investments in strategic objectives, revenues, reallocations and expense reductions through its budget process. She said Northwest’s budget philosophies are focused on protecting the institution’s affordability, quality and value in its educational offerings, which is illustrated by a $2 million increase in Northwest’s scholarship funding. Additionally, the budget includes a cost-of-living adjustment for its employees and investments in healthcare and retirement benefits.

Carrick also highlighted a number of strategic objectives in which the university is investing, including its new criminology and online nursing programs as well as resources to enhance its student success initiatives and technology. She noted the additional offerings with the ag school at the university.

“We have student funding and we have state-appropriated funding. We want to make sure that we are good stewards of those funds,” Carrick said. “As we look at our business model, we challenge ourselves to let go of things that may not be relevant today, look at what we can optimize and continue to build for the future. We have to make sure we are being smart in our decision making as we continue to invest in our students and employees.”

Regent Jason Klindt proposed an amendment to the bylaws which would allow for the election from the Regents for the vice-chair of the body. Presently, the language allows the seated chair to appoint the vice-chair. His motion received a second from Regent John Moore and the vote to proceed did carry 4-2 with Chair Dr. Pat Harr and Vice Chair Dr. Marilou Joyner casting dissenting votes. The proposed amendment will be placed on the next two Regents’ meetings for further discussion and votes. Harr’s chairmanship ended with this meeting as the bylaws dictate only a four-year term is allowed.

Other business addressed:

• Approved an update to Northwest’s Financial Assistance Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy to align with a revision to the number of hours required for an undergraduate degree. The updated policy, effective this fall, reduces the maximum allowable credit hours from 186 to 180, which equals 150 percent of the credit hours needed to earn an undergraduate degree and qualify for financial assistance, in alignment with a statewide focus to decrease student costs and time to graduate.

• Authorized a contract for a three-year renewal of Northwest’s agreement with Ellucian to provide software maintenance for the Ellucian Banner Enterprise Resource Planning and Student Information system. The software platform provides various functions related to student, employee and alumni records.

• Appointed 243 full-time faculty for the 2019-20 academic year.

• Recognitions were given to several university employees and students by President Dr. John Jasinski including Debby Patee-Merrill, Selena Foreman and Vice President Nola Bond who is leaving.

The Regents went into closed session for the topics of ligitation, real estate transactions and personnel.