Universities sell themselves to lawmakers - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Universities sell themselves to lawmakers

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The state's eight public universities were in one place Tuesday showcasing what they have to offer.

They're not recruiting potential students though, this time they're going after lawmakers inside the State Capitol  

"Every institution has a different story of course," said Maridith Geuder with Mississippi State University.

Those stories are being told through interactive displays, crying babies and thermal imaging, all of them highlighting the impact each university has on the state and its economy.  

"I've been around to these booths and there's some very interesting things going on that are very important," said Dr. Katherine Nugent, Director of Nursing at the University of Southern Mississippi.

From new building plans at Southern Miss to research at Mississippi State, it all comes down to funding and showing lawmakers what's happening with taxpayer money.  

"I think it's really important for the folks who appropriate state funds to see how they're being used, especially to see how they're being used to benefit Mississippi and help us advance together as a state," Geuder said.

Those appropriations won't come easily, especially as lawmakers begin to balance a state budget.  

"It's very difficult for all of the colleges and universities to get exactly what the need," said Representative Gregory Holloway of Hazlehurst.

While it may be difficult, Dr. Hank Bounds, Commissioner of Higher Education, says higher  education needs to remain a priority since Mississippi is at the bottom of the list when it comes to the percentage of citizens with education beyond high school.  

"At the end of the day, it really doesn't matter what the question is or what the problem is," Dr. Bounds said. "The answer is education."

In helping to get students in college a senate bill has now passed both chambers transferring about $600,000 to IHL to fully fund financial aid.

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