By Matt Sepic, St. Louis Public Radio
St. Louis, MO – Missouri's four-year universities have agreed to keep tuition and fees frozen for another year. In exchange, Governor Jay Nixon said he will keep higher education budget cuts to a minimum.
Nixon said he'll cut the state's allocation to four year universities by 5.2 percent, or about $42 million.
At the University of Missouri-St. Louis Tuesday, the governor said it's the best option given the recession. He said cuts elsewhere in state government have been worse, but cutting any more from education or raising tuition would hurt Missourians in the long term.
"Education is critical to success in this increasingly global economy," Nixon said. "And together we're making sure middle class families can still realize the dream of a quality education."
University of Missouri System President Gary Forsee said the agreement gives university budget planners a place to start, and may help avoid serious cost cutting measures.
"That's certainty today, and we can start to plan for that. And hopefully with good planning, we can reduce the likelihood of layoffs and those kind of issues, that are always tough decision for management to make," Forsee said.
The agreement still needs the approval of the legislature and university governing boards, and it applies only to four-year institutions. However Nixon said he's discussing a similar plan with community colleges.