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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri lawmakers are backing down on a proposal to penalize public universities for failing to meet certain funding and academic goals.

Instead, legislation considered by the Senate Education Committee recently would only allow performance standards to be used for year-to-year higher education funding increases.

If passed, the plan would be familiar to the state's four-year public universities. Governor Jay Nixon used the model informally when he gave them a $25 million increase for the current fiscal year.

Committee chairman and sponsoring Senator David Pearce of Warrensburg says universities should be financially rewarded for achieving performance goals. Under his plan, the universities would work with the Department of Higher Education to develop their own performance criteria.

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