Six Missouri four-year colleges and universities, two community colleges and a state agency will receive almost $40 million from the first distribution of the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority’s sale of assets. The agency provides low-interest loans to students.
The sale will create $335 million for building construction and other projects. The money is being distributed through the Department of Education and Office of Administration. The partnership is named the Lewis and Clark Discovery Initiative.
State Auditor Susan Montee released an audit of MOHELA last week that showed the agency spent money on benefits and gifts for its top executives. Montee described the amount of spending as “excessive.”
Montee also said, as quoted in a Missourian article, that the governor’s sale of MOHELA made officials take notice of the agency.
“I think that none of us or at least most people in government did not know that this entity was even out there amassing assets,” she said.
In a news release about the MOHELA sale, Blunt stated that the sale will keep Missouri as a leader in higher education by creating “state of the art learning centers.”
“Recent audit findings have only strengthened my position that MOHELA can be and must be a robust supporter of our students,” he said.
The University of Missouri-Columbia and the University of Missouri-Kansas City will not receive any funding from MOHELA. Under the original plan, MU would have received $87.5 million toward a health sciences center, $3 million toward a plant science research center and $2 million toward a business incubator. Blunt cut these projects when he changed the plan to focus more on agriculture instead of medical research. Blunt made the changes during the legislature’s debate about whether facilities funded by MOHELA should be allowed to conduct stem-cell research.
The institutions and projects that will receive money from the first round of payments are:
– Harris Stowe State University Children and Parent Education Center: $26,972
– Missouri State University: $22.273
– Northwest Missouri State University Plant Biologic Center: Almost $7 million
– Southeast Missouri State University River Campus: More than $16.5 million
– Truman State University Pershing Building: $6,250
– University of Missouri-Rolla Engineering Building: $3.3 million
– St. Charles and East Central Community Colleges: $4 million
– Department of Economic Development’s Missouri Technology Corporation: $8.5 million