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Last updated 3:31AM ET
June 20, 2018
St. Louis Public Radio News
St. Louis Public Radio News
Nixon, Forsee speak out on possible Mo. higher ed budget cuts
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon.
(St. Louis Public Radio) - Gov. Jay Nixon says he will use the powers of his office to try to hold down tuition increases at Missouri colleges and universities.

Missouri's higher education institutions are in the second year of a tuition freeze as part of a deal to avoid deep funding cuts by the state.

Nixon said today that he expects colleges and universities will have to take "substantial cuts" in the next state budget.

But he's not expecting them to respond with substantial tuition increases.

Instead, Nixon said he will pressure them to keep tuition hikes reasonable.

Today's meeting with the governor included a small group of higher education beat reporters, but barred several other media outlets, including St. Louis Public Radio.

Speaking in St. Louis Wednesday, University of Missouri System President Gary Forsee said that state government must do its part to fund higher education, despite ongoing budget cuts.

Forsee also said that state contributions to higher education have not increased since 2000, while tuition over that same time has increased by 70 percent.

One mechanism to boost revenue would be to increase the tax on tobacco and alcohol, according to Forsee.

"We are the lowest state in the union with cigarette taxes at $.17 cents a pack of cigarettes," Forsee said, "If we were the national average, which is $1.54, that's about $600 million of incremental revenue to the state."

Forsee said that he has told Governor Nixon that the university cannot continually fund budget shortfalls on the backs of students.

The University of Missouri system has added over 15,000 additional students over the past ten years.

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