MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - To kick off the new school year, funding for Meridian Community College is down by almost $1.4 million compared to what it was two years ago.
MCC President, Dr. Scott Elliott, says the cut in state funding has forced the school to significantly increase its tuition for the fall.
"We had the most significant tuition increase, certainly during my 20 year tenure here," says Elliott. "We went up $200 per semester. Yes, we did go up a significant amount, but we were low to begin with compared to national norms and state norms."
The average tuition at community colleges in the U.S. for fall and spring terms is $3,520. The average at these institutions in Mississippi is $3,104. MCC's tuition is $2,914.
MCC expects an almost 4% jump in enrollment for the fall. Dr. Elliott says aside from state funding, there are other ways the school generates money, and some of those could be at your fingertips.
According to Dr. Elliott, MCC gets a usage fee for things like vending machines. Plus, money is generated from other fees for room and board, from city and county taxes and even from competitive grants.
"To meet MCC's needs where we had retirements, those positions were not necessarily replaced," says Dr. Elliott. "So, we've tried to lower our personnel cost, which is the largest part of the budget anyway. We're surviving, and we're going to keep on keeping on because our mission is just too important to this community and to this region to do otherwise.'
Classes at MCC will start Monday. Online classes for the college will start August 21st. Dr. Elliott says between 3,200 and 3,500 students are expected to enroll at MCC this fall.