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3/14/2007 - Jackson, Miss.

During its regular monthly meeting today, the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) discussed the importance of equitable funding for Mississippi’s total education system, including K-12, the community and junior colleges, and Mississippi’s public universities. “No part of Mississippi’s public education system should be shortchanged,” said Commissioner of Higher Education Dr. Thomas C. Meredith. Among other needs, the Board is requesting the state legislature add $26 million to the on-and off-campus funds preliminarily appropriated by the Senate and $38.7 million to the on-and-off campus funds preliminarily appropriated by the House to adequately fund IHL’s $52 million formula-driven request.

During his Commissioner’s Report, Dr. Meredith discussed the establishment of three task forces created to help the Board understand the many issues facing Mississippi’s public universities and their students. The three task forces include a tuition task force, a textbook task force, and a financial aid task force. The tuition task force, chaired by Dr. Joseph Paul, Vice President for Student Affairs at the University of Southern Mississippi, is charged with thinking creatively about tuition and considering options for making a university education more affordable. The textbook task force, chaired by Troy Stovall, Senior Vice President for Finance and Operations at Jackson State University, is charged with exploring ways to make textbooks more affordable for Mississippi’s students. Finally, the financial aid task force, chaired by Dr. Bucky Wesley, Vice President for Student Services at Mississippi University for Women, is charged with considering how to make financial aid easier to understand and more accessible to college students and their families, among other topics of deliberation. Each task force will present recommendations to the Board during future meetings.

In other business, the Board approved a request by Mississippi State University to enter into a management services contract with Aramark Educational Services, Inc. to operate its Starkville campus dining and catering services. The Board also approved an agreement between Mississippi State University and the Bulldog Foundation, Inc., in accordance with Board Policy 301.0806, as well as approved a mandate requested by the University of Mississippi Medical Center regarding the School of Medicine Faculty Practice Plan.

The next regular meeting of the Board of Trustees will be held Wednesday, April 18, 2007, in the IHL Board Room. For more information, visit http://www.mississippi.edu/.

Under the leadership of the Board of Trustees, IHL governs the public universities in Mississippi, including Alcorn State University; Delta State University; Jackson State University; Mississippi State University including the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine; Mississippi University for Women; Mississippi Valley State University; the University of Mississippi including the University of Mississippi Medical Center; and the University of Southern Mississippi.


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