By Shelia Byrd/The Associated Press
JACKSON — Students will have to pay more this fall to get a college education in Mississippi.
The state College Board on Monday approved multiyear tuition increases at Mississippi’s eight public universities, saying the move is one of many measures in the face of budget cuts.
The tuition hikes range from 4.5 percent for in-state students at Mississippi Valley State University to 9 percent at Jackson State University and Delta State University. Tuition also increased for nonresident students at all universities except the University of Southern Mississippi.
The universities presented to the College Board last week business plans that included tuition increase requests for fiscal years 2011 and 2012. College leaders also have plans to scale back programs and eliminate some jobs.
Gov. Haley Barbour has been slashing what had been a $6 billion spending plan for the state after revenue collections failed to meet projections this fiscal year. Nearly all state programs have been cut, including the universities. Since July, Barbour has cut $437 million from the overall state budget.
Barbour and legislators have said the recession’s impact on Mississippi is expected to linger. Higher Education Commissioner Hank Bounds said he expects the universities to be operating with at least $182.5 million fewer dollars through fiscal year 2013, based on budget cuts and the loss of stimulus money.
“It is our hope that what was approved today is a worst-case scenario; if we do not see cuts this deep, we can reduce the increases,” Bounds said in a statement. “The board and our universities remain committed to ensuring higher education is affordable in Mississippi and that our degree programs are of the highest quality.”
Average tuition in the state will go from $4,782 to $5,459 by fall 2011.
Currently, the lowest tuition for in-state students is $4,575 at MVSU. The tuition at MVSU will rise to $4,781 in next fall. In fall 2011, that tuition will increase to $4,996.
At Mississippi State University, the largest in the state, tuition will increase from $5,151 to $5,461 next fall. The tuition will increase to $5,805 the next year.