USM Cutting Budget By $3.1 Million

The University of Southern Mississippi will cut its academic budget more than $3.1 million, Vice President for Business and Finance Linda McFall said Tuesday.

The 5.5 percent reduction of $3,160,691 is for the fiscal year beginning July 1. Nonacademic budgets have been reduced by $1.9 million, McFall said.

The cuts are being made to compensate for a nearly $3.5 million shortfall in state appropriations, rising operating costs and decreased returns on investments.

The university will layoff 18 staff members, effective June 30, in clerical, service, auxiliaries and administration. Also, 19 vacant tenure-track faculty positions will not be immediately filled.

McFall said the university anticipates collecting an additional $2.6 million from the 8 percent tuition increase approved by the state College Board.

USM President Shelby Thames has also requested an additional hike of $184 per year to make USM's tuition equal to Mississippi State's. Such an increase would bring in about $2.5 million.

The state College Board last week recommended additional increases to USM's tuition and will likely vote on the issue next month.