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Universities say they are setting 'conservative' budgets thi

Universities say they are setting 'conservative' budgets this school year
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Mississippi State University Campus

Mississippi's eight public universities are looking ahead to the upcoming school year and the 2020 legislative session. MPB's Ashley Norwood reports on their approved budgets and proposed funding requests.

Mississippi's public universities say they are managing their dollars and cents going into the 2019 school year. The State's Institutions of Higher Learning board members met this week to hear budget proposals from each of the eight universities. The trustees approved an overall education and general budget of a little more than 1 billion dollars.

IHL Commissioner Glenn Boyce says budgets at most schools increased slightly.

"Mostly for some personnel costs. Then some of the budgets at a few schools were down and requested a little bit lower budget. In particular, Jackson State as they try to bring their budget in line," said Boyce.

Jackson State University President William Bynum says over the last year his administration has had to make tough decisions. The university's cash reserves dropped by 89 percent between the fiscal year 2012 and 2016 under then-President Carolyn Meyers, who resigned in 2016.

"We've been very conservative in terms of how we've budgeted, however, there's some good indicators that again things are going to be on the rose. We have been able to get out of some contracts that was draining some cash. We've been able to see some indicators that our enrollment will be headed back up," said Bynum.

Board members also agreed to request an 89 million dollar funding increase from legislators. Boyce says he believes the extra funds could help schools remain competitive. The universities funding request will be reviewed and voted on in the 2020 legislative session.

Ashley Norwood MPB News.