June 27, 2012
Under the budget approved by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Phil Bryant, Mississippi's Institutions of Higher Learning will receive $2,400 less per student for fiscal year 2013 than they received a decade ago. In addition, Republican leadership, rather than independently accounting for Mississippi's portion of the Ayers v. Fordice settlement, is requiring several of our universities and colleges to give up more than $6 million to pay for the settlement.
As a direct result of the Republican budget, the state college board passed a tuition increase that will cost Mississippi's college students an average of $450 this fall and approximately $350 next year. This is an unacceptable result for a state that was ranked 48 out of 50 in percentage of people over 25 years old with college degrees according to the latest census data.
Now, as Mississippi students prepare to pay more for their education, they face a new threat. This month, Congress must agree to extend the 3.4 percent interest rate on federal student loans or that rate will double.
This gathering storm provides Mississippi's congressional delegation with an opportunity to soften the blow dealt to our college students by our governor and Legislature. To help ensure that our delegation keeps faith with Mississippi students, please contact your congressman through the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask them to extend the current interest rate on federal college loans.
—Tyrone Hendrix, President, Young Democrats of Mississippi
—Brandon Jones, Executive Director, Mississippi Democratic Trust