PRCC tuition to remain the same despite statewide university tuition spikes

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, April 24, 2018

State universities across Mississippi have announced that increases to tuition will occur, according to coverage by the Associated Press. Because the state’s education budget was cut approximately two years ago, these universities have been forced to find other ways to fill the financial gap. In response, the universities expect to have to increase tuition by an average of four percent, which will go into effect this coming fall, AP coverage states.

While this change will affect students planning to attend state universities, the outlook may be brighter for those starting their education at a community college.

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Pearl River Community College president Dr. Adam Breerwood said there are no plans to raise tuition at PRCC. He said providing low tuition to students is a top priority, so raising the cost would only be considered as a last resort.

“If we are going to continue providing an affordable education to our students, we need to keep tuition at a minimum,” Breerwood said.

To keep costs low, Breerwood said the college’s leaders analyzed current programs and consolidated several services. He said as finances become tighter, more has to be done with less.

As a result, a number of positions and low-performing programs will be eliminated. In addition, several instructor positions will be cut through attrition in the coming year.

Breerwood said the various heads of the athletic departments have been asked to focus on fundraising to help offset departmental costs. Some have even been asked to turn to fundraising to raise 25 percent of their yearly salaries.

Breerwood said to help with rising costs, focus has been shifted towards student retention. He said if students can be retained after recruitment, the college will be able to better plan its future funding formulas.

Breerwood said the college is determined to keep tuition low to help students overcome post-graduation struggles. He said when students graduate, they are faced with two obstacles – finding a stable job and paying back student loans.

“The student debt in this country is just enormous,” Breerwood said.

To help address the problem, PRCC provides over $4 million in scholarships every year so students can afford tuition. In addition to scholarships, Breerwood said many students are given the opportunity to receive government grants – offsetting the cost of college even more.

Breerwood said a student can receive the same education at PRCC as two years at a state university and graduate with zero debt. If a student chooses to move on to a university to pursue a four-year degree, all of PRCC’s credits are transferrable, Breerwood said.

As PRCC moves forward with its funding plans for the coming year, Breerwood said he also hopes to be able to provide instructors with a pay raise. He said while these plans have not been finalized, providing raises is a top priority, since he wants to show the instructors his appreciation for their hard work and perseverance.

According to the Associated Press story, the universities raising their tuition in the coming year include the University of Southern Mississippi, Jackson State University, Mississippi State University, Alcorn State University, Delta State University, Mississippi University for Women, Mississippi Valley State University, University of Mississippi and University of Mississippi Medical Center.