Friday, January 8, 2010
State Higher Education Commissioner Hank Bounds told legislators Tuesday that funding cuts will force Mississippi's eight public universities to eliminate programs and consider raising tuition. Speaking to the House Universities and Colleges Committee, Bounds warned that the state's universities would not be able to recoup lost state funding solely by increasing efficiency in areas like administration, purchasing and energy usage.
"The problem is it doesn't really matter how efficient we get in those (administrative) areas," Bounds said. "The downturn we're talking about receiving is going to be greater than we can deal with without looking at some pretty significant cuts. And when we talk about these cuts, unfortunately we have to bring up the T-word (tuition). You have to talk about being able to increase revenue."
Bounds has asked university presidents to present him with a detailed plan of proposed cuts by the end of January. "In the interest of full disclosure, I'll say that you should expect that some time in the next couple months we're going to have some very serious conversations about tuition," Bounds said.
Gov. Haley Barbour has already cut state funding for public universities by 5 percent, and there is a "good likelihood," that higher education will suffer further cuts, Bounds said.
Rep. Alyce Clarke, D-Jackson, broached the subject of raising revenue for higher education with the creation of a state lottery. Arkansas voters approved such a plan in 2008 with a constitutional amendment, she noted.
"It's my opinion that there are still things out there that we can do so that we would not have to close any of these programs," Clarke said. "I am going to ask us to let our people vote on (a state lottery)."
Down about college cuts? Come to Mississippi College!
Cutting programs when demand is high seems counter productive. In the sacred private sector higher demand always translates into higher costs (purchase price). Judging from the recent Clarion Ledger article link below, the pent up demand for education and training in MS has already caught the eye of the private sector...be it at a lower standard of admission, lower educational credibility (accredidation) and five (5) times the cost of community college tuition! Surely our IHL can take these variables and find a way to fill the need at a minimum increase in fees to students. http://www.clarionledger.com/article/20091214/NEWS/912140326/For-profit-colleges-find-homes-in-Miss.