Private Colleges in Missouri May Become Less Competitive
Gov. Jay Nixon intends to increase funding to the Access Missouri grant program by $2.5 million. In addition to the funding increase, the governor wants to significantly decrease the amount of grant money that students attending private colleges are eligible to receive (by as much as $1,750 per student per year). Currently, private college students are eligible for grants up to $4,600 each, while public college students may receive a maximum of $2,150 each.
While Gov. Nixon’s plan to redistribute the grants more evenly between private and public institutions seems logical, economic implications tell another story. Generally, private colleges tend to be more expensive than public schools, so the higher grant money available to private school students is in actuality the same amount (or at least similar) offered to public school students in relative terms. If grants for both are relatively the same, then reducing the private school grant money would cause a disparity in competitiveness between public and private colleges, tipping the scale in favor of public colleges.
Furthermore, private colleges tend to provide more specialized degrees than the typical public college, so reducing grant money to private school students would have a negative effect on the diversity of the labor force.