Mississippi colleges to seek $72 million more in 2014

By The Associated Press

JACKSON — Mississippi’s eight public universities want an additional $72.4 million in budget year that starts in July 2014.

Higher Education Commissioner Hank Bounds told the College Board Thursday the schools need money to increase faculty salaries and cover pension contributions.

State money to universities will fall $32 million to $670 million in the 2013 budget year beginning this July 1. Writing the 2014 budget begins this fall, as legislative leaders consider requests.

Board projections call for using $14 million to pay increased state pension contributions. The Legislature paid the higher pension costs for many other agencies in the 2013 budget.

Up to $40 million more would go to increasing faculty salaries. Bounds says Mississippi university salaries have fallen further behind those in other southern states over the last decade.