IHL Explains Where the Money Comes From and Where It's Gone
by Chris Davis
JACKSON, Miss.--The state college board, also known as IHL (Institutions for Higher Learning) will likely ask for more money from the state when budget hearings commence next week. Dr. Hanks Bounds is the head of the board and says the way colleges and universities in the state get their money has changed dramatically over the past decade.
"We've faced considerable fiscal stress over the past four or five years," he said. "A decade ago, about 56 percent of our revenue came from state appropriations and just over 30 percent came from tuition. That trend has changed. It's almost completely flip-flopped. Where we were once 32 percent tuition, we're now almost 60 percent."
Many have wondered why tuition keeps going up, year after year, while enrollment is also increasing. While Bounds did not address that specifically when he spoke with us, he did seem to indicate that the change in the way the colleges are funded has something to do with it.
"When you see a cut from state appropriations, there are only a few ways you can deal with those cuts," he said. Bounds says boards can make their own cuts, increase tuition or increase enrollment. He says the board has been fortunate enough to see record numbers attending public colleges and universities in the state, but the announcement expected Monday is that those numbers have slowed.
Bounds says he believes the IHL board has done a good job surviving some tough economic times, that have seen cuts to how much the state provides.
"We've made really good decisions around becoming more efficient. Unfortunately we've lost some programs, we've lost personnel."
He says money has played a part in the differences in the way Mississippi compensates faculty and personnel and the way other states pay their professors and staff.
Budget hearings begin Monday at the Woolfolk Building in Jackson, on the first floor.