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Nixon Strikes Agreement with State Universities

http://ozarkspub.vo.llnwd.net/o37/KSMU/audio/mp3/nixonstrik_4031.mp3

Missouri students struggling to meet the rising costs in college tuition will get a break for the next fiscal year. KSMU’s Kristian Kriner reports.

Governor Jay Nixon announced that Missouri’s public four-year colleges will receive the same state appropriations for fiscal year 2010 that they received in fiscal year 2009.

In return, state university presidents agreed not to increase tuition costs for the next fiscal year.

The news was seen as good news for MSU’s President, Dr. Michael Nietzel, who appeared much more upbeat Wednesday than in a similar news conference last month, when universities had been asked to prepare for potential budget cuts of up to 25 percent.

Nietzel says this agreement is good for both the universities and students.

“This is good news for higher education speaking for myself and for Missouri State. We are very pleased with the governor’s recommendation. It’s a tough economic period that we are in and we appreciate his recognition of the importance of higher education and particularly that it remain as affordable as possible for students,” Nietzel said.

Nietzel added that MSU is looking at new ways to cut costs.

He says Missouri State University has not implemented a hiring freeze and there are no plans to have one now.“This I want to be very clear about. No faculty positions are cut. Units may not hire into every vacancy, but that’s true every single year. Units don’t hire for every vacancy they have. They make a decision to hold off for a year, but we won’t cut any faculty positions,” Nietzel said.

Nietzel concluded by saying there are no other contingency plans in the event that Nixon’s proposal doesn’t make it through the legislature.

The MSU president says the legislators he has spoken to say they will make higher education a budget priority.

For KSMU News, I’m Kristian Kriner.