Student tuition increases despite rise in state funding

Posted on Apr 25 2019 - 5:01am by Hadley Hitson

Tuition for in-state students at all eight of Mississippi’s public universities will rise by an average of 4% in Fall 2019 after the Mississippi State Institutions of Higher Learning approved the increase at the Board of Trustees meeting last Thursday.

This is the third year in a row that both in-state and out-of-state tuition has been raised at the University of Mississippi, which is in line with the national surge in the cost of higher education in the United States.

The average for two semesters of full-time tuition and fees will increase by 1.9% at the University of Mississippi for the 2019-2020 school year, compared to the 2% increase IHL approved last April.

According to a document released by IHL, starting in the fall, in-state students will pay a tuition of $8,718 and out-of-state students will pay a tuition of $24,990.

Illustration by Katherine Butler.

Sophomore general business major Bailey Bohrer is an out-of-state student from Florida, and she said the rising cost of higher education is an international problem.

“I think that being able to get an education is important,” Bohrer said. “People are continuously trying to put a price on it, but ultimately, we’re going to pay what we have to in order to learn what we need to learn.”

However, Bohrer said the scholarships offered at Ole Miss should continue to offset the increase in tuition in terms of attracting students from out of state. Because of federal, state and college-based aid and scholarships, nearly 80% of university students in Mississippi do not pay full tuition.

Still, this year’s rise in tuition marks an approximately $3,300 increase over the past ten years since 2010 when in-state tuition was only $5,436. In the same time period, out-of-state tuition has nearly doubled.  

Junior managerial finance major Spencer Metcalfe said that the rise in tuition costs, because it has been done incrementally over the past several years, probably won’t have any effect on whether or not students choose to come to Ole Miss right now.

“It’s not going to stop that many kids from coming, just because of the amount of financial aid Ole Miss gives,” Metcalfe said. “I think if it increases much more, though, it will start to prevent more students, especially low-income students, from choosing to come to school here.”

Many have cited the fact that state funding for public universities has been consistently dropping over the past several fiscal years as the reason for the continuous rise in tuition rates. However, Mississippi public universities are set to receive $38 million more from the state in the 2020 budget than they did in the 2019 budget. The 2020 fiscal year will begin on July 1.

The majority of the 5.6% increase in state funding, though, is budgeted to be spent on state-mandated increases in employee pay and health insurance costs.  

The Associated Press contributed reporting to this article.