Thames: USM to Be "Accountable"

tuition hike

An era of "accountability and excellence," is how newly appointed University of Southern Mississippi president, Dr. Shelby Thames, projects his tenure at the school will be.

"Same quality of education, same quality of teachers, same quality in terms of expectations of faculty members," Thames said, addressing the Meridian Rotary Club Monday.

Although the basics will stay the same, with a third year of budget cuts inevitable, Thames said some changes must be made.

In terms of tuition he said USM has joined Jackson State in asking for an additional tuition increase.

Earlier this year the College Board granted all Mississippi universities an eight percent tuition hike for the upcoming fall semester.

College Board President Tom Layzell is recommending an additional increase to amount to $85 per year.

With the eight percent hike, which has already been approved, this means tuition for full-time, in-state students would increase to $3,774 a year--- $100 less than tuition at the state's largest two universities.

"With this tuition increase the cost of education is still quite affordable," Thames said. "The other universities' tuition is higher than ours. If we're competitive in terms of what we're required to do, we have to have resources to do that."

The state college board is expected to vote on whether or not to grant the additional tuition increase at its July 18. If granted, university officials say an additional hike would take affect the spring semester of next year.