Public universities feel the pinch of state cuts - - Jackson, MS

Public universities feel the pinch of state cuts

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By Ashley Conroy

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - The state's eight public universities could see up to 1,000 layoffs over the next couple of years.

It's all due to state budget cuts and federal stimulus dollars that run out next July at the end of fiscal year 2011.

Institutions for Higher Learning says public universities have seen a 13.5 percent reduction from last year.

In addition, Commissioner Dr. Hank Bounds says when the federal stimulus money runs out, that will add an additional 14 percent reduction for the 2012 budget.

"We could be 25, 26, 27 percent down," Dr. Bounds said.

Whether universities will see the full cuts, Dr. Bounds says will depend on state revenues.

"We're hoping that we don't take the full brunt of that cut. But we have to plan now as though we are," said Bounds.

He says IHL is asking universities to consider program consolidation or eliminating certain programs to stave off cuts in addition to raising tuition for this year and next year.

Ultimately, Bounds says the inevitable could mean 1,000 administrative or faculty layoffs across all eight universities over the next two years.

"Every state in this country is experiencing the same type of phenomenon. Every state out there is cutting budgets," said Bounds.

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