Governor Jay Nixon (D) has signed House Bill 2003, the Fiscal Year 2017 budget for higher education. He says the budget will freeze tuition for Missouri undergraduates for the 2016-2017 school year. The budget provides an additional $71.3 million for higher education in Missouri, including scholarships and institutional operating funds.

Governor Nixon signing higher ed budget bill (Photo courtesy of Governor's Twitter page)

Governor Nixon signing higher ed budget bill (Photo courtesy of Governor’s Twitter page)

Nixon says this will bring state support for operations at Missouri public colleges and universities to the highest level on record.

“Today, I am very proud to mark another milestone for higher education in Missouri and our shared commitment to putting a quality, affordable college degree within reach for more Missouri families,” said Nixon. “Making higher education better and more affordable was one of the five principal goals I laid out when I first took office in 2009 and today we continue to deliver on that commitment with significant investments in our higher education campuses and another tuition freeze for Missouri undergraduates.”

The FY2017 budget also increases funding for Missouri’s scholarship programs, including an additional $4 million for Access Missouri, an additional $2.5 million for A+ Scholarships, and $500,000 for Bright Flight.

For Missouri State University in Springfield, the budget includes an increase of $3,651,550 in performance funding. The budget also provides a $2 million increase to allow MSU and Missouri S&T to expand their cooperative engineering program to an additional 150 students, from the current enrollment of 200.

According to the most recent data available from the College Board, tuition and required fees at Missouri’s public universities increased by just 9% between 2008-09 and 2015-2016, the smallest increase in the nation. By comparison, the average increase nationally over the same period was 33.5%.