Tuition Hike Likely For Mississippi College StudentsBy Jeffrey Hess | Published 19 Apr 2012 05:06pm |
College students in Mississippi could once again see their tuition rise. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports that the state college board has given preliminary approval to a tuition hike that could add more than 700-dollars a year to the average tuition bill.
"We have 2,246 dollars less today, in 200 dollars, than we did 12 years ago,"
Higher Education Commissioner Hank Bounds addresses the college board, explaining the need for tuition increases at Mississippi's eight public colleges and Universities.
12 years ago, colleges got two-thirds of their funding from the state.
As state budgets have been cut, that number has flipped with schools now getting two thirds of their money from students.
College Board member Amy Whitten says students are being asked to pay more so their colleges can stay competitive.
"If you are a student working to pay your way through school that doesn't matter to you because your situation is your situation. You have got to put all of it in context for it to really be understood. It is a painful but essential decision if we are going to maintain educational quality," Whitten said.
The two year plan would mean an average 400-dollar tuition increase this year, followed by an additional 350-dollar increase next year.
The jump would be more for out of state students.
Mississippi State student body president Rhett Hobart says students understand the need for the increasing the cost of school.
"You want to have an affordable college life. You want to be able to afford you college and your tuition. But you want make sure you have an equitable degree. one that is going to allow you to be successful at everything you do," Hobart said.
The amount of increase has the potential to be even higher if the state legislature decides to further cut higher education spending this year.
Mississippi Valley State president Donna Oliver says as tuitions rise, there needs to be a bigger focus on providing scholarship money.
"We are working with our foundation to try increase dollars for scholarship. Which we did last year which saved a lot of our student. And we will continue to do that. To seek external funding that the Pell and loans and grants will not provide for them," Oliver said.
The final vote by the college board is set for early next month.
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