Tuition increase probable after May meeting
Published: Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, May 1, 2012 00:05
The state College Board for Mississippi is prepared to make a final vote for tuition increases on Monday. The board approved preliminary requests for a tuition hike on April 19 and will vote on the increases for the next two years at its board meeting on May 7.
The request, which is expected to pass, means that Mississippi’s eight public universities will face increased tuition costs this fall. If approved, the changes will be implemented July 1 at the beginning the new 2013 fiscal year.
Each university requested a certain increase percentage at the time of the preliminary request. The University of Southern Mississippi requested a 6.9 percent increase for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 school years. However, the final percentages won’t be finalized until the final legislative budget is released.
If the request passes, the possible tuition rate will go from $5,814 this year to approximately $6,215 in 2012-13 and to $6,645 in 2013-14, which is over $800 more in two years.
Despite the staggering tuition rates, the College Board also approved another monetary increase. The board gave final approval to meal and housing increases, and Southern Miss will see average room and board expenses hover around $7,500 by the 2014-15 academic year.
Earlier this month, Higher Education Commissioner Hank Bounds was quoted by the Hattiesburg American, and he said that tuition increases can be pinpointed to “the diminishing returns of a stagnating state appropriation.”
“Tuition increases have not maintained status quo over time,” Bounds said.
As mentioned earlier, these figures aren’t final, and the increase could be more significant. If state appropriations are reduced, then the eight universities will see an even greater increase, and the hike at Southern Miss could be as high as 9 percent.
College board members have stated that increases are necessary to offset reduction in funds. If the requests passes on May 7, it would make 15 tuition hikes in a 16-year period.