The Coordinating Board for High Education sets policy for state-funded colleges and universities in Missouri, but it has never had any enforcement power other than persuasion. A bill making its way through the legislature would allow the CBHE to withhold 1 percent of appropriated funds from schools that don't follow board policies.
Had such a penalty been in place when Southeast Missouri State University and Three Rivers Community College came to loggerheads over their shared learning centers, the matter might have been satisfactorily resolved.
The legislation would allow the CBHE to withhold 1 percent of state appropriations -- or less than than $50,000 for Three Rivers or less than $500,000 for Southeast.
The CBHE needs some teeth. This year's legislation is on the right track in providing a much-needed tool. But the question must be asked whether or not a 1 percent penalty would really make enough difference to make CBHE policies stick.