By WLOX Staff
JACKSON, MS (WLOX) - The state College Board voted Monday to raise tuition at Mississippi's eight public universities. The tuition hikes range from 4.5 percent for in-state students at Mississippi Valley State University to nine percent at Jackson State University and Delta State University. Tuition also increased for nonresident students at all universities except the University of Southern Mississippi.
"It is our hope that what was approved today is a worst-case scenario; if we do not see cuts this deep, we can reduce the increases," Dr. Bounds said. "The Board and our universities remain committed to ensuring higher education is affordable in Mississippi and that our degree programs are of the highest quality."
Some institutions are already making provisions for low-income students, Dr. Bounds added, by increasing scholarships and freezing tuition increases for those below a certain threshold. Tuition at the institutions will still remain significantly below the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) average, assuming SREB increases by 5 percent.
The universities presented to the board last week multiyear business plans that included tuition increase requests for fiscal years 2011 and 2012. The tuition increases were not unexpected. For months, college leaders have been discussing ways to offset budget cuts.
Multi-year business plans, which included tuition increase requests for fiscal years 2011 and 2012, were presented at the Board's regular meeting last week. The vote today to approve the increase requests was unanimous among members present.
According to the business plans, tuition revenue will only make up about 36 percent of the budget shortfalls projected through fiscal year 2013. Institutions will address about $116.1 million of the expected $182.5 million shortfall in state appropriations through cuts, efficiencies and enrollment growth. Board members and Commissioner of Higher Education Dr. Hank Bounds made it clear that the increases would be flexible depending on state appropriations.
For resident students, the approved increases are as follows:
For non-resident students, the approved increases to surcharges are as follows:
In the fall, all eight universities were asked to develop multi-year business plans to address a 10 percent cut from the original appropriation in the current fiscal year, including American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) dollars; an additional 5 percent cut in FY 2011; and an additional 10 percent cut in FY 2012, including ARRA dollars.
Universities were also asked to include any items that may increase in the coming years including insurance, accreditation costs and minimum wage.
For more information visit www.mississippi.edu/ihl. To listen to an archived audio file of the teleconference meeting visit http://www.mississippi.edu/board/webcast/embed_100125.asp. Updated information can also be found on IHL's Facebook fan page, Mississippi Universities, at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jackson-MS/Mississippi-Universities/126573282380?ref=sgm.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.