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      Nixon fights to save tuition freeze agreement

      Gov. Jay Nixon said he will fight to preserve a tuition freeze agreement for public colleges and universities.

      That agreement is being targeted by Missouri lawmakers trying to balance the state budget.

      Speaking on the University of Missouri campus, Nixon praised higher education leaders for coming forward last fall with a deal trying to prevent further state budget cuts.

      The agreement would freeze tuition at public colleges and universities for the next academic year in exchange for no more than $50 million in cuts in state funding for higher education. Members of the Senate Appropriations Committee recently endorsed a $65 million cut. Nixon said he is hopeful the $50 million reduction will be restored by the full senate or during negotiations with the house.

      I think it is a vital part of the economic plan of the future of the state," Nixon said. "I will work with all of my energy to make sure it is in the bills that make it to my desk.

      MU Chancellor Brady Deaton shares the Governor TMs optimism on the tuition freeze agreement.

      Higher education is going to stand there at the forefront, providing the kind of investment that will provide a great rate of return on the future generations of the State of Missouri," Deaton said. "I think that is the important point that we are all joined together with the Governor TMs level among the legislature as well, as we try to move this state forward.

      Nixon said he is optimistic and confident that Missouri lawmakers will uphold his tuition freeze deal. Overall, Nixon said Missourians will come out on the other side of this economic downturn with a more efficient state government.