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How Missouri State University Benefits from Releasing of Funds

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Governor Jay Nixon released millions of dollars to education programs in Missouri today.
Any time you add a program, you're going to enhance your ability to attract students.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Governor Jay Nixon released millions of dollars to education programs in Missouri today.
 
In June, he withheld $400 million from the state's budget. But after his veto of House Bill 253 stood yesterday, he announced immediate distribution of the money.
 
$215 million of state money will go to education and mental health programs, among others. That breaks down to $66 million for K-12 education, $34 million for higher education, $23 million for mental health services, and $11 million for University of Missouri and Missouri State to train health care professionals.

With the money, MSU will create a new occupational therapy program on the Springfield campus. University officials say this will meet a critical need in the community.

"That would be awesome," says MSU student Laura Bailey. She and fellow students support using state funds for the expansion, "because it's our future. It matters a lot to everyone needs health care."

"I think more money needs to be put into it to make it better because right now it's definitely not the best it could be," says student Jessica Stoneking.

That's why, for the last 20 years, the university has been pushing for more state funding for its health care program. And this year, Chief of Staff Paul Kincaid and his colleagues got their wish.

$825,000 from the state will help create the new occupational therapy program in Springfield.

"It's a critical need," adds Kincaid. "There are no occupational therapy programs south of I-70 in Missouri."

Hospitals in the region report it takes years to fill their spots for occupational therapists. By training those professionals in southwest Missouri, MSU grads can stay in this area.

"Because there are jobs waiting for students when they come out of these programs."

Kincaid says it's a winning situation for the students, employers, and the university.

"Any time you add a program, you're going to enhance your ability to attract students."

The money will be used to hire a director, staff, and make improvements to buildings and technology.

"We'll have a waiting list I'm sure to get into it."

They hope to have the program up and running fall of 2015. $500,000 will go to the MSU West Plain campus to improve the nursing and respiratory care programs.
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