PERKINSTON, MS (WLOX) – Education costs have been adding up for students at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. This year, some students are paying $500 to $250 to cover fees for high-cost programs, like welding and nursing. Their tuition has also gone up significantly.
"We had to raise tuition 13 percent last year. This year, we had to raise tuition another 28 percent. That's a 41 percent increase in tuition in two years," said MGCCC President Dr. Willis Lott.
Lott said the increases were necessary to help the college cope with state budget cuts. They were also part of a plan to help the college brace for what's ahead -- an expected loss of $2.2 million in federal funding next year.
"We should be okay if we only lose the federal stimulus dollars," said Lott. "If the legislature has to cut us state funding some more, than we're going to have to do something. We're down bare bones as far as staffing. We made our cuts a year ago. We started preparing for next year, last year."
Some of those cost-cutting measures included reducing travel expenses, utilities, and supplies. The college also slashed 37 positions last year.
"We're not planning to furlough people. We're not planning to reduce salaries," Lott said.
Lott said the college is in a better position now, but its financial picture could change.
"There are a lot of unknowns in our economy right now, so the best thing to do is be hopeful that it does improve," he said.
Dr. Lott said MGCCC has cut more than 100 positions over the past ten years. And he said the college is getting 45 percent less money per student today compared to a decade ago.