UPDATE: BLUNT'S CHRISMER: "The Department of Higher Education has pointed out that Nixon and Zweifel’s claim is inaccurate."
The Democratic nominee for Treasurer is giving no ground in his higher education tussle with Gov. Matt Blunt.
Rep. Clint Zweifel said that Blunt is using statistics "that lessen the importance" of making college more affordable.
On Thursday, Blunt said Zweifel's previous statements about Missouri ranking at the bottom of Big 12 schools in college affordability was inaccurate.
"Responsibility in this case was ignored by the governor, who instead of relying on his administration's numbers, used statistics that lessen the importance of making college more affordable in the State of Missouri," said Patrick Lynn, Zweifel's campaign manager in a statement. "The fact is Clint Zweifel has a plan for increasing college affordability, while Gov. Blunt has failed to keep college affordable and Senator Brad Lager doesn't believe the state should help families afford college," Lynn added.
"Governor Blunt affirmed the state of Iowa had the highest average cost for tuition and fees at four-year public universities of any state with a school in the Big 12. He went on to say, individually, the University of Missouri-Columbia was third behind Baylor (a private institution) and the University of Texas-Austin.Unfortunately, Gov. Blunt needs to take his own advice on checking facts. According to an Oct. 21, 2007, editorial by The Kansas City Star, "Average annual tuition at four-year public universities is higher in Missouri than in any other Big 12 state." And according to the Governor's own department, the Missouri Department of Higher Education, in FY '09 it costs $8,466.58 to attend the University of Missouri-Columbia, a difference of $863.85 from the $7,603 used in the governor's press release. This again placed Missouri at the bottom in tuition and fees on average in the Big 12 Conference", according to the Zweifel release.
Blunt spokesperson Rich Chrismer pointed the KY3 Political Notebook to this article. "The Department of Higher Education has pointed out that Nixon and Zweifel’s claim is inaccurate," said Chrismer in an e-mail. The Kansas City Star piece reports that the Department of Higher Ed says Fiscal Year2009 data provided by the department isn’t exactly the same as the data used for interstate comparisons.