3 Mississippi HBCUs in danger of being closed in proposed bill

The Mississippi Legislature is considering Senate Bill 2726, which proposes the closure of three state universities by 2028. The bill, sponsored by Republican John Polk, leaves the selection of the universities to be closed to the Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL), giving them until June 30, 2025, to make their decision. Factors for consideration include enrollment and degree attainment data, federal aid, tuition rates, economic impact, and the institutions’ contributions to the state, such as medical services and research. The bill allows for the absorption of programs from closed universities into other state institutions. Notably, three historically Black universities—Alcorn State, Jackson State, and Mississippi Valley State—could potentially be affected by the legislation. The bill is currently before the Senate’s Universities and Colleges committee and, if passed, will have significant implications for the higher education landscape in Mississippi amidst rising operating costs and declining enrollments. If passed, the bill would go into effect on Jul. 1, 2024.

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