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Mississippi Public Universities to Increase Tuition

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Seven of eight public universities in Mississippi will increase tuition this fall. The Board of Trustees for the State Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) unanimously approved the hike last week. 

In-state students will pay $222 more per year, a modest 2.8 percent hike. For non-residents, tuition costs will go up by $358 — a 3 percent increase. After the hike, tuition for in-state students will be $8,219, while out-of-state students will pay $12,273.

Among the seven universities hiking tuition, Alcorn State University (ASU) approved the maximum tuition increase for in-state residents. ASU students will now pay $7,566 rather than $7,297 annually.

With a 4 percent increase, Mississippi State University in Starkville announced the most significant out-of-state tuition hike, pushing college costs from $23,840 to $24,790 annually.

Even after the hike, “Mississippi students will still pay less than their fellow students in neighboring states,” IHL stated. These states include Alabama ($9,201) and Tennessee ($8,806), where a college education is more expensive.

Reaction to the Hike

Amidst the coronavirus pandemic, schools across the country were forced to slash budgets, programs, and even jobs. The current move will help to deal with these setbacks while maintaining the quality of education students receive at these universities.

Defending the move, Commissioner of Higher Education Dr. Glenn Boyce said the hike is necessary to ensure “appropriate measures are taken” to meet students’ expectations.  “Universities must have the resources necessary to provide quality programs, faculty, services and facilities,” he added.

However, director of nonprofit Get2College, Ann Hendrick, believes otherwise. “While the hike might be just a couple hundred dollars but for a lot of working-class families that could be the determining factor between, ‘Can I go to the university or do I go to community college?’” she explained. 

That said, Hendrick is hopeful that it’s still not too late for students to apply for financial aid. For all college aspirants, “The cost of college is one of those factors you’re going to have to add to your budget or your planning,” added Hendrick. “And the sooner you do it, the better off you are.”

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