On Sept. 22, Commissioner of Higher Education Glenn Boyce presented a budget request from all Mississippi universities, asking for more financial resources to improve the educational systems in the state.
“We support this goal and are working to attain it through increasing educational attainment, supporting economic development and solving Mississippi’s most pressing problems,” Boyce said. “However, we must have the resources necessary to do the work required to achieve this goal.”
During his speech to the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, Boyce asked for various things. He stressed the importance of employee salaries, campus renovations and how money could be saved across the state. During his speech he presented budget options and plans for the committee to consider.
“The facilities infrastructure goes beyond brick and mortar,” Boyce said. “Our faculty, staff and students must have the technology infrastructure necessary to have the teaching and learning opportunities they expect in the 21st century.”
Southern Miss has made vast improvements over the years to improving the campus. With the additions of Spirit Park, more agricultural planting and the opening of Scianna Hall, the university has benefited from this exact notion.
“To increase educational attainment, we must attract and retain faculty and staff, maintain our infrastructure and increase accessibility,” – Boyce
The request includes a $17 million increase in resources to address repair and renovations of facilities across various campuses in 0the state. With a decrease in funding from the legislature, the impact could be drastic. The funding does not affect just the students but also the faculty.
“We can’t overstate the importance of faculty and staff on student success and research,” Boyce said. “Our faculty members serve as an inspiration to students and help them persist and graduate, our staff members provide essential services that protect student safety, help students persist and help students find jobs after graduation.
According to the legislative press release sent on Sept. 22, Mississippi professors only make 83 percent of the average salary of other Southern Regional Education Board state schools. That discrepancy in competitive salary could drive Mississippi employees elsewhere to find work. Boyce spoke on a request asking for a $50.1 million increase in faculty salary, as well as $14.2 million in student financial aid in FY 2016.