USM reaches highest tuition in state
Published: Thursday, August 30, 2012
Updated: Thursday, August 30, 2012 22:08
When most students this spring were finishing up finals and dreaming of their summer vacations, the college board of Mississippi approved a statewide tuition increase for all eight of Mississippi’s public universities.
The tuition hike went into effect in July, throwing the University of Southern Mississippi into the lead with $6,336 a year, winning first prize in the highest tuition of any public college in the state of Mississippi. Ole Miss followed closely at $6,282 a year, and Mississippi State took bronze with $6,262 a year.
In addition to the rise in tuition (an 8.6 percent increase from last year’s $5,834), the room and board expense increased 4.1 percent from $6,634 for the 2011-2012 academic year to $6,907 this year for students living on campus.
USM’s financial aid statistics from collegeboard.org show that although 83 percent of Southern Miss undergraduates applied for aid and 86 percent were offered aid, only 19 percent have had their financial needs met.
Congress, which establishes the maximum amount for the Pell Grant, has set a maximum of $5,550 for the 2012-2013 award year, unchanging from last year even with the rising costs of tuition. The 2013-2014 award year, however, is expected to receive a $95 boost to $5,645, a 1.7 percent increase.
Students have voiced frustration with the increasing cost of attending Southern Miss.
“I’ll definitely have to take out loans that I might have been able to avoid otherwise,” Andrew Heaton, an environmental biology major, said. “Starting this semester I’m getting the maximum amount from the subsidized Stafford Loan, and even with my scholarships I still can’t quite cover all of my fees. It seems like the quality of life for graduates will be slowly decreasing.”
American Student Assistance reported that the average student loan debt among graduates is around $24,301, and the number is expected to continue to climb as students take out more loans to cover the increasing costs of tuition, room and board and books.
To find out how much you owe in loans, visit http://www.nslds.ed.gov/nslds_SA/.