Another Tuition Increase Could Be On The Way

A member of the state College Board says tuition increases at Mississippi's eight universities are likely after last week's budget cuts and more reductions in spending looming in the next year. Gov. Ronnie Musgrove issued budget cuts last week totaling $116 million. The universities have been cut nearly $15 million since November.

Joint Legislative Budget Committee recommendations for the 2003 fiscal year would give the state's higher education system $86 million less than it had when the current fiscal year started. Consequently, university and state college officials predict a second straight tuition increase. ``I don't think there's any doubt we'll have a tuition increase,'' said College Board member Carl Nicholson of Hattiesburg. ``We're trying to calculate how much that's going to be.'' Nicholson advises parents to invest in MPACT, the state tuition savings program, or other college accounts. ``I think we're going to have tuition increases for a period of time,'' he said.

The College Board increased tuition 15 percent last year for all eight schools. The increase ranged from $320 annually at schools such as Delta State to $450 at the larger schools such as Ole Miss and Mississippi State. The College Board meets this week in Jackson.