Mississippi Public Universities
Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently asked questions about
the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning
What is the Board of Trustees?
The Board of Trustees is the constitutional governing body responsible for policy and financial oversight of the eight public institutions of higher learning. The Board first assumed its duties in 1944. Because of changes to legislation regarding the appointment of Board members, "after January 1, 2004, as vacancies occur, the twelve-member Board. . .shall be appointed from each of the three Mississippi Supreme Court districts until there are four members from each Supreme Court district. The terms of office are reduced from12 years to nine years. The terms are staggered so that all members appointed after 2012 will have a term of nine years."

The Commissioner of Higher Education is appointed by the Board and is responsible for administering the Board's policies at the eight universities in the state of Mississippi.

What are the Board’s responsibilities?
The Board is also responsible for demonstrating accountability to the people of Mississippi and effectively communicating the accomplishments, needs and value of the system of universities to the public. By strengthening and maintaining a viable comprehensive planning, management and evaluation process, the Board facilitates effective decision making, resource allocation and utilization, fiscal accountability and program review and evaluation. For information on board meeting schedules, minutes of the Board, board members’ profiles and board policies, click on the following link: Board of Trustees.

What are the Board’s Goals/Priorities?
The ultimate goal of all involved in the planning process is the development and the implementation of an on-going, dynamic system strategic plan which is a meaningful and useful tool for the Board of Trustees, the universities and all leaders who make decisions about policies and budgets for the public university system. Five-year goals for the system have been developed.

What are the Board’s Policies and By-laws?
The Board’s Policies and By-laws may be found at the following link on this website: Policies and Bylaws.

What is the function of the Commissioner of Higher Education?
The Commissioner of Higher Education is responsible for assisting the Board in the administration of the Board's policies and bylaws. The Commissioner works closely with the Institutional Executive Officers, state and government officials, education community, business persons and the public in increasing access to public higher education. Citizens are welcome to contact the Office of the Commissioner and can do so through the website. A profile and other information about the Commissioner’s office may be found at the following links: Welcome and Board of Trustees.

What are the Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL)
The Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) consist of the eight public universities: Alcorn State University, Delta State University, Jackson State University, Mississippi State University, Mississippi University for University, Mississippi Valley State University, The University of Mississippi, The University of Southern Mississippi, including the University of Mississippi Medical Center, Mississippi Cooperative Extension Service, Mississippi Agricultural, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine, ten off-campus centers, and various other locations throughout the state. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools is the accrediting body for each of the public universities in Mississippi. For more information about the universities, click on the following link: Universities.

What is the budget for the Institutions of Higher Learning?
The Board of Trustees, through its executive office and professional staff, oversee a total operating budget of $2.4 billion, of which $591 million is State appropriated funding in FY 2006. The state’s percentage share of IHL’s total operating budget has decreased from 36.0% in FY 1996 to 25.1% in FY 2006—a reduction of 10.9%. 74.9% of the FY 2006 total operating budget is self-generated by the universities through tuition, fees, and other non-appropriated sources.

What is the Enrollment of the Institutions of Higher Learning?
The Fall 2005 headcount enrollment figures show 69,588 students pursuing academic degrees, which 80 percent are residents of Mississippi. Additional information on enrollment may be found at the following link: Enrollment Table.

What are the tuition and fees?
Current tuition and fees for each of Mississippi’s public university may be found at the following link on this website: Tuition and Fees.

Where Can a Person Obtain Information about Financial Aid?
Approximately 80 percent of Mississippi college students receive financial aid. To find out more about financial aid options, contact the financial aid office at the university of your choice or the State Office of Financial Aid at (601) 432-6997 or 1-800-327-2980. Additional information on the financial aid programs administered by the State Office of Financial Aid may be found at the following link on this website: Financial Aid.

What Programs do the universities offer?
System institutions offer more than 50 majors including business, education and nursing, and 842 academic programs. There are educational opportunities in signature programs such as culinary arts, music therapy, polymer science and aviation. More information can be found at the following link: Programs.

Where are the Board of Trustees’ and Commissioner’s Offices Located?
The Board of Trustees’ and Commissioner’s administrative offices are housed in the Education and Research complex located at:

3825 Ridgewood Road
Jackson, MS 39211
Phone: 601.432.6623
Fax: 601.432.6972

Directions: Take the Lakeland East exit off I-55 North and turn left on Ridgewood Road. Turn left into the Education and Research Complex. The Board’s offices are located in the Paul B. Johnson Tower Building. For a specific office, see directory marquee on the first floor or use the self-help visitor’s desk. There is ample parking in front of the Tower Building. Click the map for a printable version.

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Contact Information
3825 Ridgewood Road
Jackson, MS 39211
Telephone 601.432.6647

Financial Aid
Toll Free: 1.800.327.2980
Telephone: 601.432.6997
Email: Student Financial Aid

All Other Questions
Telephone: 601.432.6198