HATTIESBURG, MS - On Thursday, the Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning made a final approval to increase tuition at Mississippi's eight public universities.
The University of Southern Mississippi approved to raise tuition $165.50 a semester, which is an increase of $325 a year for both in-state and out-of-state students.
According to Vice President of Finance and Administration Douglas Vinzant, the increase is fairly low compared to public universities across the country.
"The combination of our board trying to keep tuition low and the legislative providing stable support for higher education has meant that we have a tuition rate that is among the 10 most affordable states in the country," Vinzant said.
Currently in-state tuition is $7,334 a year and out-of-state tuition is $16,204.
In fall of 2016, in-state tuition will be $7,659 and out-of-state tuition will be $16,529.
Vinzant said a low increase is needed to help improve instructional quality and recruitment efforts.
"It helps us with cost being associated, with being in the education business," Vinzant said. "Technology cost increase, cost of compliance and so forth with various things that we have to do. Those things are not standing still, they are going up."
USM plans to recruit students from other states where the in-state tuition is high.
"There are many states where resident tuition is already $14,000 to $16,000 a year," Vinzant said. "We're going to get the word out about USM."
A 2015 executive summary from Georgetown University found that students with a baccalaureate education will earn an access of $1 million dollars or more over a lifetime than students without a baccalaureate education.
"We want to remind students and families this is an investment and there is nothing else you can do that's going to offer the same level of return or investment as an investment in your education," Vinzant said.