ST. LOUIS (AP) -- 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 freeze is effective for the 2010-11 academic year.
The agreement must still be approved by Missouri lawmakers and governing boards at the colleges and universities.
"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."
Nixon, a Democrat, said his administration worked with university leaders and faculty in gaining support for the freeze.
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 a 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.
University of Missouri System President Gary Forsee, who spoke at the news conference, said the state's universities share in the desire to keep quality education affordable.
"Today's agreement with the governor is an important step, but we have more work to do," Forsee said. "The higher education funding model is broken."
In a statement, Missouri State University President Michael Nietzel said, "First and foremost, higher education is about our students, and we must ensure that a four-year education remains as affordable and accessible as possible."
The agreement allows a tuition increase for out-of-state students.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)