Nixon proposes education funding increase

By Nicole Cooke

February 14, 2014

WARRENSBURG - Gov. Jay Nixon visited the University of Central Missouri Friday morning to speak during the Board of Governors meeting about college affordability, applauding the school’s efforts to help reduce student debt.

Nixon has called on all Missouri universities to freeze tuition costs in an effort to accomplish what he calls “twin goals.”

“The competition for the jobs of the future is no longer local. I’ve spent this week visiting high schools and grade schools telling those students things that these students already know, that education is a worldwide competition and to continue to raise our game and continue to lead the way the way you all have here is extremely important,” Nixon said. “That’s why when it comes to higher education we have had twin priorities.

“College puts a strain on family budgets so we want to make college education as affordable and accessible as possible. We’re also doing our part to try to make sure we lessen the amount of debt students graduate with. We also want to make sure we provide a high quality education for our students that prepares them for jobs and the careers of tomorrow. We need to make sure we maintain cost competitiveness.”

Nixon’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget proposal includes an additional $36.7 million for higher education, which would help increase funding for major scholarship programs in the state, including Bright Flight, A+ and Access Missouri.

The governor noted during his remarks that Missouri has become a leader in both “education innovation and affordability” in the nation, with university tuition increases raising just 5 percent over the last five years in Missouri, lower than any other state.

“…over the last five years while those states had double digit tuition increases and the amount of college loan debt in America surpassed the amount of credit card debt, Missouri universities have led the nation in holding down tuition increases,” Nixon said.

Before Nixon arrived, the UCM Board of Governors had approved tuition fees for 2014-15, and fees will once again not be raised. Nixon said during his speech he was pleased they didn’t have a “single penny increase in tuition fees” and that they answered his call for a tuition freeze.

“You kept higher education as one of your top priorities and I’ve told you on numerous occasions, the best public policy in Missouri is keeping higher education accessible for Missourians,” said UCM President Charles Ambrose.