Mo. to freeze higher education tuition

? Tuition and academic fees will be frozen for the second straight year at Missouri’s public four-year colleges and universities, Gov. Jay Nixon announced Tuesday.

Nixon said he will have to reduce higher education spending by 5.2 percent, or $42 million, for the next fiscal year. The schools’ leaders agreed to the tuition freeze for the 2010-11 tuition year, while the governor pledged upcoming education budget cuts will be less steep than they could have been in tough economic times.

The agreement must still be approved by Missouri lawmakers and governing boards at the colleges and universities. Nixon, a Democrat, said his administration worked with university leaders and faculty in gaining support for the freeze.

“Keeping higher education affordable is one of the best steps we can take to turn this economy around,” Nixon said. “By working together to freeze tuition we are reversing a decade-long trend.”

Before the freeze for the 2009-10 academic year, Missouri’s four-year colleges and universities increased tuition by an average of 7.5 percent per year over the past decade. And Nixon noted that nationally, tuition has jumped by an average of 6.5 percent in the past year. Some states saw increases of up to 17 percent.