Statement from the University of Missouri System regarding today’s higher education discussion with Gov. Nixon
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“We appreciate Gov. Nixon updating us on the likely budget challenges ahead and his strong commitment to containing the impact of the state’s financial challenges on higher education,” said Steve Owens, University of Missouri System interim president.
“Like the governor, we are focused on providing affordable access to a college education for Missourians. Over the past two years we have held tuition flat and exercised prudent expense controls-no salary increases, a hiring freeze and reduced expenses in areas such as travel, supplies and equipment. But in the past decade we’ve added 17,000 students, and state support per student has dropped 28 percent.
“The university is below 2001 funding levels in nominal dollars, and at a mid-1990s funding level in inflation-adjusted dollars. We are therefore at a point where we must also be concerned about the quality of the education we provide as the state’s research university. The University of Missouri has a direct impact on the economic recovery of the state and the growth of jobs as we move innovation from our labs into the marketplace. The governor also has set an appropriately ambitious goal of having 60 percent of all Missourians achieve a post-secondary degree by 2020, and we are committed to doing all we can to help achieve that goal by graduating more students from our campuses who can succeed in today’s highly competitive workplace.
“Over the next several weeks, our curators will set tuition rates for next year with an eye toward balancing the need for quality programs with access and affordability while taking into consideration budget constraints. We remain committed to doing all we can to partner with the state to advance quality education, health care and economic recovery in Missouri.”
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