Governor Nixon Presents Plan to Expand Higher Education Funding
Gov. Jay Nixon announced a proposal Monday to increase state funding for higher education in an effort to keep tuition costs low.
Nixon spoke in front of university administrators at the Governor’s mansion to announce his plan to allocate an additional $55.7 million, a six percent increase, in funding for public institutions for the Fiscal Year 2017 budget. This would bring the total amount of funding for higher education to $985 million, an all-time high.
Nixon said his goal with the increase proposal is to freeze tuition costs for students across Missouri for the 2016-17 school year.
“I just feel very, very deeply that we have got to prepare our students for jobs in the future, and the place to get that done in the state of Missouri is the institutions represented right behind me,” Nixon said.
UM System President Tim Wolfe attended the conference and expressed his support for the funding increase.
“It’s going to give us necessary funding to put the labs and the classroom space in place that supports the unbelievable student growth that we’ve got, so it’s a great investment in our future,” Wolfe said.
Nixon’s plan won’t go into effect unless the state legislature approves it at the legislative session next spring.
Wolfe said that the UM Board of Curators finalizes tuition costs for system universities in February. He said that if the Board of Curators approves a tuition freeze and the state legislature denies the proposal, the Board’s decision would be difficult to overturn.
“We have very many levels to pull relative to getting the resources necessary to do what we’re supposed to do in our mission,” Wolfe said. “The last lever we think about is tuition and fees, because we’re trying to be as efficient as we possibly can.”
Nixon’s proposal also states that $9.2 million of the additional $55 million will go towards supporting science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs.