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College Board okays room, board hike

The state College Board has approved increases in room and board for Mississippi’s eight public universities.

The increases, which go into effect beginning in the fall, cover average single and double occupancy rates for on-campus housing, as well as hikes to university meal plans.

Campus housing for double occupancy rooms will average about $3,781 in the coming school year, compared to $3,495 this year.

The universities’ most expensive meal plans will average $2,480 — compared to $2,397.

In January, the College Board approved in-state tuition increases ranging from 4.5 percent at Mississippi Valley State to 9 percent at Jackson State and Delta State starting this fall and again in 2011-12.

University leaders said increases are necessary in this budget cycle, especially for room and board. General fund dollars do not go toward the cost of maintaining residence halls or dining.

“I think at some point you have to increase the price to ensure the quality” services, College Board President Scott Ross said. “I still think it’s a great value.”

The system’s most expensive meal plans will average $2,480 next year, compared to this year’s $2,397.

Higher Education Commissioner Hank Bounds said the meal plans are still a bargain.

“In most cases, the cost is less than $3.50 a meal,” he said.

College Board members said Wednesday that it also would work on a multiyear plan to map out housing rate increases for the coming years.

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