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Tuition Bill Awaits Bryant’s Signature

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(Southaven,MS) The Mississippi legislature has passed a measure allowing colleges and universities to offer in-state tuition to some out of state applicants.

That could save some people tens of thousands of dollars off a college education.

Right now, State law prohibits State schools from offering in-state tuition to out of state students, the way Tennessee, Arkansas and other states do.

Lawmakers wanted to level the playing field so Mississippi schools don’t lose good students to those other states.

Alyssia Webster knows some people will do just about anything to attend college classes in Mississippi, especially for schools with good reputations, ”I knew some that were going here and they stopped going because of the out of state tuition cost and one of ‘em actually moved to Olive Branch just so she wouldn’t have to pay.”

Tennessee, Arkansas and other states offer in-state tuition breaks for students who live nearby in adjoining states, but in Mississippi, State law prevents that.

”Out of state tuition is extremely expensive and that’s a deciding factor in these times.” Said school counsellor Shannon Fleming.

In Mississippi, out of state tuition can run three times the cost of in state costs depending on the school.

Fleming says The University of Arkansas turned lots of heads when it offered tuition breaks for students making more than a 25 on the ACT tests,  ”So we went from no students being interested in the University of Arkansas to about ten to fifteen going for visits and several others of our senior class applying this year”.

That’s at least a dozen students that Mississippi would lose, and not be able to replace with good students from just a few miles away, because they live across a state line.

Webster says she like the idea of giving a break to nearby students,  ”You would obviously have more faculty and more diverse culture, more opportunity.”

It’s unclear if Governor Bryant will sign the bill, but many say there’s no reason he shouldn’t, to keep Mississippi schools competitive for the best students.