For Meridian Community Colleges and other community colleges in Mississippi, administrators are planning now in hopes that it will help later.
Community and junior college leaders in Mississippi have been told by the governor to prepare for 12% less in funding this fall than what they had last fall.
"I guess if there's any good news, the governor plans to infuse some federal stimulus money into our budget, which will offset some of the loss of state dollars," said MCC president Dr. Scott Elliott.
Because of lagging revenues, the Mississippi Legislature has cut almost $400 million from next year's state budget. To help with community and junior colleges' losses, Gov. Barbour projects that about $5.6 million in stimulus funds will be available.
"It'll help a little bit. It sounds like a lot of money but when you spread it over 15 institutions, it's really not that much," Elliott said.
As it stands, Dr. Elliott says tuition at MCC will likely increase to $1,000 a semester and employees will not receive raises for the second straight year. Despite this he says the good news is that there are no current plans for any layoffs or furloughs.
"I think things are going to get worse before they get better," said Elliott. "What's going to happen is that the stimulus money that the governor is infusing into our budget is going to go away, and that's when there's going to be a big day of reckoning."
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