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The budget will include an additional $36.7 million, or five percent increase, in funding for Missouri’s public universities, made available through the state’s performance-based model adopted earlier this year. Nixon’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget proposal will be presented to the General Assembly in January.
“With this significant investment I’m calling on presidents, chancellors, and boards of our public universities to once again freeze tuition for Missouri undergraduates so that those students won’t pay a penny more for their education in the 2014-2015 school year,” Nixon said.
The Governor said as a result of a secured two-year tuition freeze, the tuition increases of public four-year institutions in Missouri have been the lowest in the nation over the past five years.
“By holding tuition flat for the third time in five years, we will strengthen Missouri’s position as a leader in college affordability, but more importantly we will strengthen the financial position of students and their families all across our great state,” Nixon said.
Nixon said there are two priorities when addressing higher education: college affordability and accessibility and high quality education that provides preparedness for a competitive workforce.
Nixon pointed out his support of programs like Caring for Missourians, MoHealthWins, and MoManufacturingWins to boost enrollment in high demand fields. In November, he proposed an additional $5,000 annually through the merit-based Bright Flight scholarship for students who agree to work-full time in Missouri immediately after graduation.
He added that education is crucial to competing in the 21st century’s global workforce and economy, noting Missouri’s proposal to build Boeing’s 777x commercial aircraft.
“It’s no surprise that in deciding where to build this high-tech jet one of the most important factors Boeing identified is the availability of a highly skilled workforce,” Nixon said. “Education is quite simply the best economic development tool we have.”
Missouri State President Clif Smart said he’ll recommend to the university’s Board of Governors to freeze tuition if the Missouri General Assembly approves Nixon’s five percent increase for higher education.
For KSMU News, I’m Briana Simmons.