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Governor, Community Colleges Reach Funding Agreement

Governor Jay Nixon announced today he has made an agreement with the presidents of Missouri’s Community Colleges to freeze tuition prices for a second year in a row. KSMU’s Katie Easley has this report.

Governor Jay Nixon will present this agreement to the state legislature next year when he submits his budget for consideration, but Nixon says he thinks it will pass. “Next year for the second year in a row Missouri students at our state’s 12 community colleges won’t see an increase in their tuition or academic fees at all, period, zero,” says Nixon.

According to Nixon’s agreement with presidents of Missouri’s Community Colleges they will not raise tuition for their 2010-2011 school year. In return Nixon has agreed only to cut higher education funding by about 5%.

Hal Higdon is the President of Ozarks Technical Community College in Springfield. He says the budget cut will effect students’ education.

“The bigger point is it’s also cutting our budget 5 percent so the combination of a budget cut of 5% and increasing costs, and record enrollment, this year it’s up 16 percent, means that we will have to trim our budgets, we’ll have to trim our course offerings, they’ll be no growth in programs, and we could have some programs affected by that,” says Higdon.

Higdon also says a 5 percent cut is less than many other states’ higher education programs are enduring.

“Obviously no one’s excited about a 5 percent cut in appropriations but we do recognize that in many other states they’ve already had cuts even mid year. Other state agencies have had cuts and we haven’t, so we appreciate the governor’s commitment this year to keep us from having cuts.”

Earlier this week Nixon made a similar agreement with the presidents of Missouri’s four-year colleges.

For KSMU News, I’m Katie Easley.