Since 2000, the average tuition at Mississippi’s eight universities has increased from an annual rate of $2,864 to the current $4,742.
That fact doesn’t take into account the fact that a sputtering economy is dragging down Mississippi’s current revenue collections. Gov. Haley Barbour has been forced to make two rounds of cuts from the $5 billion state budget since November.
Universities are losing 4.8 percent of their state money because of the cuts, about the same percentage lost by many agencies. For the fiscal year that ends June 30, the university system originally was given $786.3 million. It is losing just over $38 million.
That doesn’t cover housing, food, books and supplies, travel and other costs of living incurred by college students. Tuition is simply the cost of taking classes for credit at a Mississippi public university – costs that are in the current economy becoming increasingly burdensome to students and their families.
Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant wants the Legislature to approve a proposal that could affect the way universities and colleges raise tuition. Bryant backs a bill authored by Senate Universities and Colleges Chairman Doug Davis, R-Hernando, that would allow the state College Board to develop a program that locks in tuition costs for parents for four years.