Bill aims to study new funding measures for state colleges

By Colleen Donovan - bio | email

HATTIESBURG, MS. (WDAM) - A recently passed Mississippi House bill aims to study whether state public universities and community colleges should be funded based on productivity rather than enrollment.

The bill previously passed the state Senate and while it also passed the House, the measure was held for more debate. Although the criteria for what defines productivity is not specified, Dr. Cecil Burt, the Dean of Pearl River Community College's Forrest County campus said it could include statistics like graduation rates.

However, many students attend community colleges for a short period of time before transferring to a four year school. Job placement rates is another possible factor, which is currently used for students in career and technical fields, but not for those set to transfer.

Burt said, "We have to employ faculty based on our enrollment, so if we are not going to base it on enrollment than I question how we are going to be able to serve the number of applicants to come to college that we now have."

While this bill is only designed to study the issue, Governor Barbour has advocated new funding measures for junior colleges and universities based on productivity goals rather than enrollment figures.

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