Southeast Missouri State University president pleased with tuition freeze proposal

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Southeast Missouri State University President Dr. Ken Dobbins is applauding Governor Jay Nixon's plan not to raise tuition in higher education.

The announcement was made Wednesday afternoon at the University of Missouri in Columbia. Nixon has proposed a plan to ask public universities not to raise tuition rates if the state legislatures spares them from budget cuts.

The move would save Southeast from cutting $6.7 million to $11.1 million in its general revenue operations appropriation of $44.6 million. Southeast could be saved from possible cuts in faculty and staff positions, scholarship money and improvements in technology.

"We appreciate that the governor is saying that higher education and making it affordable for students is important," Dobbins said. "Higher education is a driving force in the economy.

"And to jump-start the economy we have to have qualified employees who will then attract other businesses," he said. "Not only do students put in over a million dollars into the local economy each school year but our graduates have degrees that industries are looking for. "Southeast is an economic driving force for Cape Girardeau and the business community in general."

Dobbins said affordability is a reason why many students choose Southeast. He cited a survey completed by between 1,200 and 1,300 incoming freshman last week. Sixty-five percent of respondents said they picked the university because they believe Southeast is an affordable option. Fifty-three percent chose Southeast for its academic programs.

Southeast's tuition is currently about $184 per credit hour for an in-state student, compared to about $176 per credit hour for the 2007-2008 academic year.

The University of Missouri-Columbia charges about $245 per credit hour, the University of Missouri-Kansas City is $246 per credit hour, Missouri State University is $186 per credit hour and Harris-Stowe is $164 per credit hour.

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