HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The University of Southern Mississippi will increase tuition by 3.5 percent for the 2015-2016 school year.
USM's tuition increase puts annual tuition for in-state students at $7,224 dollars. Out-of-state students will pay an annual $16,094.
"We feel like we're a good investment for the dollar amount, not just in Mississippi, but across the region," said USM communications spokesman Jim Coll.
USM is on the lesser end of the increase, compared to the a five percent increase at both MSU and Ole Miss. Delta State University nor Mississippi Valley State University increased tuition.
"It's about quality," explained Coll. "To me, the expectations of the students and parents to have the university that we want to have."
Although Southern Miss has suffered a decrease in enrollment the past two school years, he said that did not influence the tuition increase, which was decided on last year but approved this fall by the state college board.
"This was part of a two year plan from last year," he said.
Coll said it is a "concern anytime tuition is raised," and the university has taken efforts elsewhere, including cutting 10 million dollars in energy costs, to help with the university's financial needs.