When Missourians, in the early 1970s, approved a constitutional amendment authorizing better coordination of higher-education programs and services, the hope was that state-funded colleges and universities would find efficiencies and cooperatively deliver needed courses and degrees to every part of the state.
Acceptance of direction from the Coordinating Board for Higher Education, created by the Missouri Legislature in 1974, has been mostly voluntary. The CBHE's efforts have, at times, seemed futile without any authority to enforce their decisions.
This year the legislature passed a law that takes effect Aug. 28 and gives the CBHE more say on tuition increases, financial aid to students and settling disputes.
The move to give the CBHE, whose current chairwoman is Kathy Swan of Cape Girardeau, a stronger role has been a long time coming. It can be hoped that the beneficiaries will be Missouri's students.