National Council of Teachers of English Logo
Reports from Policy Analysts

Funding Shortfalls in Mississippi

Submitted On: Monday, March 6, 2017

Analyst: Jordan, Kerri

Funding Shortfalls in Mississippi

Kerri Jordan / Mississippi College

BUDGET: Budget cuts and shortfalls continue in Mississippi. In January, Governor Phil Bryant ordered $51 million in budget cuts to our state’s $6.4 billion budget—this following a $57 million cut in September 2016. The latest cuts include $10.3 million to public universities and $3.8 million to community colleges (Associated Press). The legislature’s proposed budget for FY 2018 includes a 6.7% decrease in university budgets and a 6.5% decrease in community college budgets (Ganucheau).

REMEDIATION: In late summer, 2016, a central focus of higher education funding discussions was remediation. In tax and budget workgroups, House Speaker Philip Gunn and other lawmakers “narrowed in on the $35 million colleges and universities spend annually on remediation” for college students. According to Kell Smith of the Mississippi Community College Board, “around 74 percent of full-time community college students had to take a remedial course during the 2015 fall semester.” Workgroup participants also discussed access to higher education in Mississippi, where low admission standards provide relatively easy access—but also mean that many Mississippi students require substantial academic support (Norwood & Royals). As of December 2016, proposed legislative budgets included reductions in funds for remediation in higher education, with possible redistribution of $4.5 million to K-12 (Ganucheau).

MISSISSIPPI PREPAID AFFORDABLE COLLEGE TUITION PROGRAM (MPACT): According to Mississippi Treasurer Lynn Finch, the MPACT program faces a $12.6 million shortfall for fiscal year 2016 and can become insolvent by 2025. For the past three years, the legislature has failed to act on special appropriations requests to address MPACT shortfalls. The shortfalls relate to the “Legacy” version of the plan, which is funded at only 72% (total Legacy shortfall is over $126 million). MPACT was restructured in 2014, based on audit findings; the current “Horizon” version of the plan, according to Fitch, “‘is not only meeting, but exceeding our funding targets.  It is cost-neutral to taxpayers and cost-effective for Mississippi savers’” (Fitch). Legacy plans will be honored; however, Mississippi taxpayers must make up for shortfalls eventually.

In the foreseeable future, Mississippi higher education will continue to struggle with funding. On many campuses—especially community college campuses—fulltime English instructors are already spread thin, and programs often rely on underpaid and over-obligated adjunct faculty. Reduced funding will inevitably lead to additional burdens—such as teaching overloads and larger numbers of students per section—in addition to reduced support services for underprepared students.

Associated Press. “Governor Sets $51 Million More in Mississippi Budget Cuts.” Mississippi Business Journal. 13 January 2017.

Fitch, Lynn. “MPACT-Legacy Shortfall Now at $126.4 Million: Legislature Can Lessen the Burden on Taxpayers by Acting Now.” Lynn Fitch, State Treasurer Newsroom. 2 March 2017.

Ganucheau, Adam. “FY 2018 Budget Outlook: Cuts for Most.”Mississippi Today. 8 December 2016.

Norwood, Ashley F. G., & Kate Royals. “Budget Group: State Not Preparing Students for College.”Mississippi Today. 22 August 2016. 

Academic Level

Higher Education



Document and Site Resources

Share This On:

Page Tools:

Join NCTE Today


Copyright © 1998-2017 National Council of Teachers of English. All rights reserved in all media.

1111 W. Kenyon Road, Urbana, Illinois 61801-1096 Phone: 217-328-3870 or 877-369-6283

Looking for information? Browse our FAQs, tour our sitemap and store sitemap, or contact NCTE

Read our Privacy Policy NEW! Statement and Links Policy. Use of this site signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use

Visit us on:
Facebook Twitter Linked In Pinterest Instagram