Mississippi's Public Universities Seeking Additional Funding

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Jackson, Miss. Mississippi's eight public universities are seeking an additional $76.3 million from state lawmakers.

The College Board voted Friday to request a 10.2 percent increase in state funding when the Legislature gathers next year to write the 2016 budget.

Though the 2015 budget begins Tuesday, agencies are already preparing 2016 requests in advance of budget hearings later this summer.

Faced with an even larger request from universities, the board had delayed its decision last week to seek more information.

In the last two budgeting cycles, universities have asked for smaller increases, but have persuaded lawmakers to give them almost all of what they sought. Higher Education Commissioner Hank Bounds says the larger 2016 request is a reflection of universities' needs, including the need to increase faculty salaries.