Nixon hosts higher ed meeting

Last week, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon announced that state universities will be receiving an extra $40 million in funding from state appropriations after a settlement between several state attorneys general and the five largest mortgage lenders in the United States.

Nixon called a meeting of the state’s college presidents in Jefferson City on Feb. 9. Missouri Southern President Bruce Speck was in attendance. The meeting started with a discussion on Nixon’s appreciation of higher education in the face of all the adversity universities face.

“He certainly realizes that we’ve had to make sacrifices,” Speck said.

Nixon told the presidents and chancellors that he appreciated what they’d been doing despite the state cutting large sums from their budgets.

“I think the dilemma that he’s in, and that all of the state budget is in, is that they’ve got to balance a budget,” Speck said. “One of the difficulties that I perceive that he has is that the budget that he offered has some, perhaps, maybe more optimistic than realistic [ideas].”

Although tax revenue is slightly up, the governor has maintained a position of not raising taxes. Similarly, he’s asked universities to refrain from raising tuition.

“We have two ways we can deal with the budget,” Speck said. “We can cut and decrease expenditures, or we can increase revenues.”

Speck said that though he doesn’t control tuition, he expects an increase in line with the Consumer Price Index after this year, about a 3 percent jump. That equates to about $5 more per credit hour this fall.