Universities Seek Additional $20 Million

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Jackson, Miss.

Leaders say fully funding requested increases in state aid will allow the College Board to complete its transition to a new formula for dispensing money to Mississippi's eight public universities.

Higher Education Commissioner Hank Bounds made the pitch Wednesday to members of the House Appropriations Committee.

However, after getting a $20 million boost in the current budget, it's not clear lawmakers will grant another $20 million increase in the 2015 budget they're writing.

The Joint Legislative Budget Committee recommended an additional $15 million, and House Appropriations Chairman Herb Frierson, R-Poplarville, says reaching that level over two or three years might be more realistic.

Frierson says he wants to fully fund the new formula first, but also asked Bounds how lawmakers could go about adding money to increase employee pay