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College Board approves 7 percent increase in tuition

The state College Board Thursday approved a 7 percent tuition increase for Mississippi’s eight public universities, boosting next year’s annual tuition by an average of about $260.

The board, in a 10-1 vote, also approved a fuel surcharge ranging from $42 to $49 “to offset the financial demands facing Mississippi’s eight public universities, such as accreditation requirements, increased utility costs and repair and renovation,” a statement from the board said.

Board member Bob Owens of Jackson voted against the increase. Owens said he thought the changes would put college out of reach for some Mississippi residents.

The average tuition cost will be about $4,510 for the academic year that starts in August.

The College Board raised tuition despite a $90 million increase in funding provided by the 2007 Legislature. The board last year approved tuition increases ranging from 4.5 percent to 5.5 percent.

“The board is sensitive to both the financial implications a tuition increase has for out students and parents and the incredible financial demands placed on our universities,” College Board President Stacy Davidson Jr. said in the statement. “Need-based financial aid and a work program to offset the increase in tuition was supported by the board.”

All eight institutions will give students the option to work off the increase through various jobs at the rate of about $10 per hour, the statement said.

The board also approved a 5 percent merit-based salary pool for faculty and staff. The statement said that in 2006 a faculty member at one of the eight public schools made almost $10,000 less than the average southern university faculty member.

The following is a list of the state’s eight public universities, its tuition increase for next year and the annual tuition after the increase (in order from the greatest increase).

University of Mississippi: $328 increase, $4,885 annually

Mississippi State: $319 increase, $4,869 annually

Southern Mississippi: $318 increase, $4,866 annually

Mississippi University for Women: $273 increase, $4,167 annually

Jackson State: $251 increase, $4,433 annually

Delta State: $238 increase, $4,206 annually

Mississippi Valley State: $168 increase, $4,373 annually

Alcorn State: $165 increase, $4,280 annually