College Board Votes To Raise Tuition At Eight Public Universities

The state College Board on Thursday approved tuition hikes for the coming year at Mississippi's eight public universities, helping them address rising costs.

"We are grateful for the support given by the governor and our legislature for our salary increases, and we are confident this is the beginning of a renewal of support for higher education,'' higher education commissioner Thomas Meredith said.

Tuition will rise by 5.5 percent for in-state students at Delta State, Jackson State, Mississippi State, Mississippi University for Women, the University of Mississippi and the University of Southern Mississippi. It was increased by 5 percent at Alcorn State. The smallest increase - 4.5 percent - was earmarked for Mississippi Valley State.

The College Board also approved increases from 4.5 percent to 11 percent for out-of-state tuition, as requested by the individual colleges, and allowed each of the schools' executive officers the option of instituting a 1 percent surcharge to help offset rising utility costs.

Room and board charges were increased by as much as 8 percent.

The tuition increase was designed to help individual schools fund a 5 percent pay raise for faculty and staff. It was passed by the state Legislature, which only supplied universities with enough to cover 3.75 percent of the raises.

"Although we regret having to raise tuition, it is necessary in order to meet rising costs and to address quality issues,'' said Trustee Aubrey Patterson, who chairs the board's Budget, Finance and Audit Committee.

The board said tuition and fees rose by 84 percent nationally during the last 15 years.

The College Board will finalize tuition costs at its meeting next month.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)