KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Gov. Jay Nixon has visited three colleges around the state in the past two days to tout the passage of HB 2003, this year’s higher education bill.
At a ceremonial signing at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Nixon called the bill a milestone for college affordability and accessibility.
“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,” he said.
While the House looked poised to cut all performance funding from the University of Missouri’s Columbia campus and make steep cuts to other public universities, the Senate mostly fought for the governor’s recommendations. The two bodies found compromise, and Nixon was obviously pleased with the result.
The bill includes a four percent performance funding increase, amounting to just under $37 million, contingent on a verbal agreement that public four-year, community and technical colleges and universities would freeze tuition costs, an action that has occurred four times during the Nixon administration.
The bill also increases funding for Missouri’s scholarship programs, to the tune an additional $4 million for Access Missouri, an additional $2.5 million for A+ scholarships, and $500,000 for Bright Flight.
While the General Assembly did not stick to Nixon’s exact recommendations, Nixon obviously found the bill he received from the legislature less objectionable than the other bills – he has yet to sign any of the other budget bills sent to him from the House last week.