MGCCC tuition increase lowest in the state - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

MGCCC tuition increase lowest in the state

Community and junior colleges are seeing an average 13 percent tuition increase this coming year due to cuts in the state education budget. (Photo source: WLOX) Community and junior colleges are seeing an average 13 percent tuition increase this coming year due to cuts in the state education budget. (Photo source: WLOX)
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

Right now, students around Mississippi are facing a more expensive community college education than ever before.

Community and junior colleges are seeing an average 13 percent tuition increase this coming year due to cuts in the state education budget.

When Mary Graham, president of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, heard that her state funding would be decreasing by 10 percent starting this summer, she knew she was going to have to get creative.

A tuition hike was likely, but the question was, how much?

"When you make those tough decisions, you just have to make sure that quality and student success are at the forefront of your decision making," Graham said.

Statewide, the average tuition hike at the 15 community and junior colleges was 13 percent. MGCCC increased by around 5 percent - the lowest percent change in the state. Graham said fundraising and partnership programs made that possible.

"We were still able to make sure the quality was there,” Graham said. “We were still able to make sure that we had qualified individuals teaching for us. We did not have to cancel any programs."

Graham says the college even plans on adding a few programs in the fall. Now, students will be paying $150 more per semester to attend MGCCC, making the annual price around $3,100.

It seems that this is a price that many are willing to pay.

"I think they're trying to make it to where it's affordable for students," said Katlyn Phillips, a student at MGCCC.

Phillips is hoping to go into radiology, and says even with a tuition hike, the community college route is much lighter on the budget.

"Universities are very expensive and people worry about if they can afford it, and I think it's very affordable," she said.

The tuition hike is actually lower than the school's last increase two years ago, but it doesn't look like the numbers are scaring the students away.

"Our summer numbers were up and we're trending to be up for the fall," said Graham.

Graham hopes this is a sign that the local community understands the value of an MGCCC education.

It is the first time that the average price of a year at community college in Mississippi will exceed $3,000.

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