Press Releases | Governance

Mississippi Center for Public Policy Releases ACTA Study on Higher Education

February 3, 2020 by ACTA

Jackson, MS – The Mississippi Center for Public Policy (MCPP) today released the results of a study conducted by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni that analyzed the state of higher education in Mississippi. Southern Exposure: A Look at Mississippi’s Public Colleges and Universities” examines the Magnolia State’s public university system using four essential metrics: academic strength, intellectual diversity, cost & effectiveness, and governance.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Since 2007, faculty salaries have stagnated while administrative salaries have skyrocketed. Next year, Mississippi’s flagship institutions will each pay their president more than six times the campus’s average annual salary for a full professor.
  • Seven out of the eight schools are below the national average for six-year graduation rates.
  • In the 10-year period from 2009 to 2018, athletic spending at both Ole Miss and Mississippi State more than doubled, growing at a rate greater than any other public institution in the Southeastern Athletic Conference.
  • None of Mississippi’s public institutions require students to take a course in U.S. government or history.
  • In all eight public universities, there are over 130 undergraduate programs with fewer than 10 students each year.

The report concludes with 15 policy recommendations that university leadership can implement to strengthen curricular and academic outcomes, ensure the free exchange of ideas, become accountable stewards of tuition dollars, and practice effective governance. These changes will help Mississippi’s public institutions provide the best possible education for the lowest possible cost.

“We are here to help,” said Michael Poliakoff, president of ACTA. “Mississippi is a proud state with much to offer our nation. University leaders face the ongoing challenge of providing the finest education at the most affordable price, if the state is to realize its full potential. We hope that our report will help the Mississippi state university system optimize its crucial mission to prepare students for the demands of global competition, dynamic job markets, and informed citizenship.”

“We regard higher education as a significant issue in public policy,” said Jon Pritchett, CEO of MCPP. “An awful lot of taxpayer money gets appropriated toward it and a large amount of family household expenses can be tied to college tuition and expenses. That’s why we are delighted that the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, the nation’s leader in such matters, is here in Jackson today to share the results of this nonpartisan examination.”

To view the full survey results, click here >>

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