The University of Missouri–St. Louis will receive an additional $20 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding from the state of Missouri to support its ongoing efforts to build a cohesive academic experience that will meet the needs of students and the greater St. Louis region and state today and into the future.
Gov. Mike Parson approved the appropriation when he signed the state budget for the upcoming fiscal year on Friday.
“We are grateful to Governor Parson and our legislative leaders for their continued support of higher education at UMSL and across the University of Missouri System,” Chancellor Kristin Sobolik said. “This investment from the state brings the university closer to realizing our vision to transform UMSL to better utilize our land assets for the benefit of our students and the region for generations to come.”
The FY24 funding follows $40 million in capital improvement ARPA funding the state directed to the university last year, which kickstarted UMSL’s first steps in realizing its Campus Master Plan, including centralizing an academic core on the North Campus while demolishing aging buildings on the South Campus. This first phase of work will open 35 acres on south of Natural Bridge Road for the creation of UMSL’s proposed North St. Louis County Business and Workforce District, a space that will build out the university’s current physical and mental health academic programs and community services while creating opportunity for public-private development.
As part of the first phase of Transform UMSL, the university will complete a build-out of the Patient Care Center to benefit students, faculty and staff in the College of Optometry, Missouri’s only college of optometry. The university has also launched projects to enhance the University Libraries and build the Richter Family Welcome and Alumni Center, which will serve as the new front door to the university for prospective students and a permanent home for UMSL’s more than 112,000 alumni.
In all, the university is planning more than $100 million in campus improvements over the next four years, supported by a mix of public and private investments.
“We aim to enhance the quality of life and amenities in north St. Louis County through this investment,” said Chris Spilling, UMSL’s vice chancellor for research and economic and community development. “Our collective goal is to increase St. Louis County’s capacity for high-paying, in-demand jobs while we enhance the region’s workforce, training and development opportunities which will build local and state tax revenues that will reinvest money back into the community.”
In addition to the latest ARPA funding, the state budget also calls for a 7% increase in core academic funding for the University of Missouri. Core funding is designated to support the university’s central land-grant mission and will help fund research and development operations as well as fund students pursuing doctorates, including in optometry.
“We are grateful for the continued support and investment of our legislative leaders and Governor Parson,” UM System President Mun Choi said. “Their investment in the University of Missouri System receives a 13-to-1 return as the universities generate a $6.5 billion economic impact on the state. Our researchers, with students working and learning alongside them, were issued 31 patents, and the universities created or retain more than 60,500 jobs throughout the state. This support helps us champion excellence in shaping progress in education, leading-edge research and transformative innovation in Missouri.”
The Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development also awarded funding to programs that facilitate the development and expansion of employer-driven education, training programs and initiatives to substantially increase educational accomplishment through its MOExcels Workforce Initiative.
This year, a total of $4.6 million was allocated to the four UM System universities to support educational programs, including $768,000 to UMSL for the Center for Behavioral Heath Practice-Based Learning.