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Governor advocates for tuition freeze

HELENA — Term-limited Gov. Brian Schweitzer says his successors should use some of the state's $450 million surplus to freeze students' tuition.

Schweitzer said Monday a freeze would keep education affordable. The next Legislature, along with the incoming governor, will be free to accept or reject the plan, which will be part of Schweitzer's budget proposal in November.

Schweitzer says he reached a deal with higher education leaders to freeze tuition levels if the state provides an increase of $34 million in funding. The state Board of Regents is constitutionally granted autonomy over the details of the university budgets.

Universities are increasing tuition about 5 percent this year and next after they said the 2011 Legislature didn't provide enough to avoid the hikes.

Tuition was frozen the four years prior to that.


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