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College Board mulls seeking big increase

 

Jeff Amy/The Associated Press

 

JACKSON -- The College Board is likely to decide today how large of a budget increase it will seek from Mississippi lawmakers. 

 

The board's Finance Committee considered a plan Wednesday that would ask for an 11 percent increase over what the state's eight public universities will get in the 2015 budget year, which begins July 1. 

 

That would boost spending, not counting bond money, by $84.8 million and would be a much larger increase than universities received for 2015. The system will get $747 million in state money in that budget 

 

Committee members also considered a request seeking an additional $61.4 million, which would be an 8.2 percent increase. 

 

In the last two budgeting cycles, the system has asked for smaller amounts, but has persuaded lawmakers to give the universities almost all of what they asked for. For example, earlier this year, the Legislature approved a $29 million increase in what the state spends on universities, most of the $32 million the College Board sought. Some other agencies made requests for much larger amounts and walked away with less than the universities received. 

 

"We're going to need to think about it," said Aubrey Patterson of Tupelo, chairman of the Finance Committee. "We've developed a lot of credibility with the Legislature." 

 

On the other hand, because 2015 will be an election year, there could be large spending increases if revenue continues to grow, especially because lawmakers have filled reserve accounts. 

 

"There will be lots and lots of requests out there," said Higher Education Commissioner Hank Bounds. 

 

 

 

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