Miss. universities to increase tuition

In the wake of reduced state funding for Mississippi universities, The University of Southern Mississippi will see a rise in the cost of tuition for the 2015-2016 school year by 3.2 percent, according to the Hattiesburg American.

Mississippi’s College Board recently voted to approve increases in tuition at universities across the state. Southern Miss will increase tuition costs by 3.2 percent, while some schools are seeing a rise of up to 4.9 percent.

Two schools, Delta State University and Mississippi Valley State, will continue to offer the same tuition as 2013.

Currently, tuition for an in-state student at Southern Miss, as listed on the school’s website, is $3,490 per semester, or $6,980 per year. A nonresident will pay $4,285 per semester, or $8,570 per year. The increase means that tuition for an in-state student will cost about $7,224 per year, depending on the student’s program.

Nonresident students will see a congruent increase, according to the Hattiesburg American.

Southern Miss experienced a bump in tuition this academic year as well, yet still faced budget cuts and financial crunches. Money taken from the school’s spending was still not enough to balance the budget, so Southern Miss, and other universities, must turn increasingly to students.

Bethany Norris, a sophomore social work major, is very aware of how increasing tuition could affect her schooling.

“I am expecting to get less financial aid next year, so an increase in price will make me have to take out more money in student loans,” Norris said. “I think that if I did not receive any financial aid, the hike in price would make college more difficult to afford, but as long as I’m getting some financial aid, it should not make it too much more difficult to afford.”

But while Norris might not experience insurmountable difficulties paying for the 2015-2016 school year, she said that if prices continue to increase, families like hers would shoulder more financial burdens.

“I still have a minimum of two years left of school and in another year, my sister will be in school. As long as prices are rising, it could put a burden on my parents to put both of us through school,” Norris said.

John Davenport, a sophomore exercise science major, also recognizes the potential dangers of increasing tuition another year in a row.

“I completely believe that if tuition keeps going up, it will end up being a deterrent to potential college students,” Davenport said.

When asked what Southern Miss could do to help take financial pressure off students while dealing with budget cuts, Davenport had an answer.

“An obvious answer would be to slow down on spending. Every time you turn around on campus, construction is going on, and not all of it is necessary,” he said. “Also, spoiler alert: maybe it’s time to take just a chunk of the football budget and put it toward academics instead. Otherwise, budget cuts are going to have to be made, hence the loss of the yearbook.”

Tuition increases are expected to continue over the next few years at Southern Miss, with no apparent ceiling for how high tuition costs may rise.