JONES COUNTY, MISS. – Junior Colleges in Mississippi making a push for more money from the state, saying they need more money to fund several programs that are important to the state’s economy.
“We [the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC)] submitted our budget request earlier in the year, and we requested a significant increase,” Jesse Smith, the president of Jones College and the legislative co-chair of MACJC said.
MACJC pushed for money from the state’s legislature asking them to restore funds lawmakers reduced significantly in the past 19 years.
“About 52 percent of our revenue comes from students and local resources,” Smith said. “Back in the year 2000, nearly 75 percent of the funds were coming from the state.”
Smith says despite the decrease in funds, junior and community colleges are still holding strong. However, if the downward spiral continues then colleges could run into major problems.
“It’s a very simple thing, if we don’t get the increase needed… it gets passed off to the students,” Smith stated.
Forcing community and junior colleges to raise their tuition, cut programs, and even get rid of numerous employees.
“Ultimately, that’s the last case scenario,” Smith reiterated “But long story short, if it continues on a downward trend then you will see that.”
Smith did on go to mention that MACJC and the legislature did come together for several positive talks.
“Now, I know that the legislature is planning on helping us sustain and we’ve been very thankful,” Smith mentioned. “I would like to say we wouldn’t be anywhere without the help of the legislature.”
In all, Smith says MACJC recognizes and appreciates the support given by the legislature, but it is still not enough and they still need more money.