Nixon announces no cuts for higher education

Brennan Stebbins

Columbia, Mo. (Jan. 21) — Missouri Governor Jay Nixon delivered news today that leaders of the state’s public colleges and universities have hoped for.

There will be no cuts to higher education appropriations in fiscal year 2010, and in return the institutions have pledged not to raise tuition or academic fees for the 2009-10 school year.

“Today I’m proud to announce it’s going to be different in the state of Missouri,” Nixon said in a press conference on the campus of the University of Missouri – Columbia. “I’m proud to announce that Missouri students will not see a tuition increase next year. Period.

“The leaders of Missouri’s four-year public institutions and I have spent the last several weeks carefully reviewing the budget and planning for our future. We know that a highly trained workforce is vital if we’re going to turn this economy around and we share the common priority of providing a high-quality, affordable college education for students around Missouri.”

The announcement comes after weeks of speculation about next year’s higher education budget. Public institutions had been told to provide scenarios for a 15, 20 and 25 percent cut in state appropriations.”It’s a very progressive approach the governor is taking and I applaud him for that,” said University President Bruce Speck. “It’s good for us in terms of what we were looking at. We probably dodged a bullet.”Clearly we still have costs that will increase and we’ll need to make sure we can pay the bills, so it doesn’t mean that we won’t have to make some cuts and make some decision about how we’re going to move forward.”

Missouri Southern’s state appropriation for fiscal year 2009 was $25,597,158.

“In my fiscal year 2010 budget proposal, Missouri’s public, four-year institutions will receive stable funding,” Nixon said. “The same amount they received in 2009. They will be spared the cuts. In exchange, the institution leaders have pledged not to raise tuition and academic fees for the next school year.”

Missouri faces a budget deficit, and Nixon did not answer questions about where the money would come from to support his plan, instead saying he would address the rest of the budget at next week’s state of the state address.