Gov. Jay Nixon today visited Warrensburg to applaud the University Of Central Missouri Board Of Governors for answering his call to freeze tuition for Missouri undergraduates for the 2014-2015 school year. As part of his continued efforts to make Missouri a leader in college affordability, the Governor has proposed a significant funding increase for Missouri's public four-year universities in his Fiscal Year 2015 and called on those institutions to freeze tuition for Missouri undergraduates.
"The evidence is clear, good schools help create good jobs," Gov. Nixon said. "By investing in our universities and freezing tuition, we're going to make sure students graduate from college with the skills to compete for good jobs, not a load of debt."
Earlier today, the University of Central Missouri Board of Governors voted to answer the Governor's call and freeze in-state undergraduate tuition for the 2014-15 academic year.
"I appreciate the UCM Board of Governors for taking action to keep college affordable by freezing tuition for next year," Gov. Nixon said. "I encourage our other four-year universities, who haven't already, to take action and hold undergraduate tuition flat next year."
"The significant investments Gov. Nixon is making in higher education will help us to hold the line on undergraduate tuition next year while continuing to prepare students to find good jobs after they graduate," said UCM President Chuck Ambrose. "The University of Central Missouri offers a world class education at an affordable price, putting a college degree and quality career within reach for thousands of students."
Gov. Nixon has made the quality and affordability of higher education in Missouri a top priority of his administration. Over the past five years, Missouri has led the nation in holding down tuition increases at its public universities. The College Board's 2013 Trends in College Pricing report shows that tuition and fees at Missouri's public four-year institutions increased just 5 percent since 2008, lower than in any other state in the nation.
Gov. Nixon's Fiscal Year 2015 balanced budget proposal includes an additional $36.7 million in funding for Missouri's public universities, through Missouri's performance-based funding model for higher education, implemented for the first time last year. The Governor's STEM initiative would also provide an additional $22 million in core funding for Missouri's public universities to help these institutions purchase equipment, expand lab space and produce more graduates in fast-growing STEM fields.
To address a critical shortage of mental health professionals in many communities across the state, the Governor has proposed a strategic investment of $20 million investment to help Missouri's community colleges and universities train 1,200 students in high-demand mental health fields.
Last year, Gov. Nixon set a goal of giving every student in the state the opportunity to earn a Missouri A+ scholarship. Under the A+ program, Missouri students can earn a scholarship to cover the cost of tuition and academic fees for two years at any public two-year community college or technical school in the state. To be eligible for the program, students must meet academic achievement standards, conduct and attendance requirements, and perform 50 hours of tutoring or mentoring service.
Since the Governor took office, 266 schools have been added to Missouri's A+ Schools program and 99 percent of public high school students in Missouri now have the opportunity to earn an A+ scholarship and attend two years of community college tuition free.
Gov. Nixon's Fiscal Year 2015 budget proposal increases funding for all of Missouri's major scholarship programs including Bright Flight, A+ and Access Missouri