MS-AyersFunds 09-20 0322

LAFAYETTE COUNTY

About a third of $503M in Miss. college desegregation funds spent

OXFORD, Miss. (AP) Mississippi’s three historically black universities have spent about $145 million of money allocated from settlement of a college desegregation case.

The state College Board met in Oxford on Wednesday and reviewed a report on how Jackson State, Alcorn State and Mississippi Valley State have handled money from the $503 million settlement.

The report will be submitted Oct. 1 to the U.S. District Court as part of the annual filing due in the federal case.

A settlement was reached in the long-running college desegregation case in 2002. It mandated more equitable funding among the state’s historically white and historically black institutions.

The settlement, stemming from a 1975 lawsuit filed by the late Jake Ayers Sr., created funding to add additional programs at the three universities.

Among those programs was Jackson State’s engineering program, which recently was accredited.

The three schools have spent $19.7 million of the $20 million available for this year.

Accessing $70 million in endowment money requires the historically black universities to attract and maintain a nonblack enrollment of 10 percent for three years. Alcorn State is the only school that has met the goal. It enrolls 10.4 percent nonblack students. Although the school’s nonblack enrollment dipped to 9.8 percent last year, it was above 11 percent in 2004 and 2005.

Jackson State has 7 percent, down from 7.1 percent last year. Valley has a nonblack enrollment of 5.4 percent, up from 4.5 percent the previous year.

Another $75 million was allocated for capital improvements. Alcorn, Jackson State and Valley have spent a total of $27.3 million on 12 projects under way.