JEFFERSON CITY - While the University of California's recent announcement of major tuition increases has led to many protests and at least 10 arrests, Missouri in-state students can rest at ease with the governor's proposed freeze.
While the University of California's Board of Regents voted in favor of a 32 percent tuition increase last month, Gov. Jay Nixon announced he would seek to freeze in-state tuition levels for the second year in a row in exchange for maintaining current funding at nearly 95 percent.
"Two straight years of tuition freezes at every public university, college and community college is a huge step forward for Missouri's economy, especially in comparison to states like California," said Jack Cardetti, a spokesman for Nixon.
The Los Angeles Times reported a budget presentation meeting at the University of California-Los Angeles was disrupted by an estimated 300 student protesters in November.
The average national tuition rate increase for the 2009-10 school year was about 6.6 percent, according to The College Board. Many state tuition increases for next year, however, haven't been officially decided yet.
Missouri had the second lowest increase in tuition and student fees for the 2009-10 school year with an increase of only 0.3 percent, according to The College Board.
Arizona had the highest increase for the 2009 academic year at almost 18 percent. Previously, the state averaged about a 5 percent increase each year. No officials from the Arizona Education Department were available for comment.
Florida had the second highest increase in tuition rates last year at 14.6 percent.
Bill Edmonds, spokesman for the Florida State Board of Governors, said no decisions on tuition rates for the 2010-11 academic year have been made.
"The legislature will vote on recommendations in the spring, about March or April. Right now, it's still pretty early for Florida to decide," Edmonds said. "Then each university will decide what they want to implement."
He said any proposed increase cannot exceed 15 percent because of a law passed in 2007.
Mississippi was the only state to experience a zero percent increase in tuition and student academic fees for the 2009-10 school year.
Despite this, tough economic times and inevitable budget cuts will probably mean an increase in tuition for students in the upcoming 2010-11 school year.
Leah Rupp Smith, a spokeswoman for the Mississippi Education Department, said budget cuts already made by the governor will make it difficult to keep prices low.
"A couple weeks ago, 5 percent of the budget was cut. Some time later, another 3.6 million was cut, and we still anticipate even more," Rupp Smith said.
The Mississippi Board of Trustees sets tuition rates and will discuss possible increases for the upcoming school year during their next few meetings, she said.
"The board weighs increases very heavily because the problem in Mississippi is that many of our students are not wealthy. It's important to keep tuition rates low for them," Rupp Smith said.