Saturday, January 28, 2017

Bill Crawford: Time to scrutinize admissions

USM cut out-of-state tuition by 40% "to reverse a 2,000-student enrollment dip by pricing a USM education below some public universities in nearby states," reported the Clarion-Ledger.

IHL data shows the average percentage of out-of-state students attending Mississippi public universities is 30%. The averages for each university are ASU 24%, DSU 17%, JSU 23%, MSU 34%, MUW 15%, MVSU 23%, UM 41%, USM 21%.

Speaker of the House Philip Gunn led a panel of lawmakers discussing the high costs of education in Mississippi to focus in on "the $35 million colleges and universities spend annually on remediation for students that need extra help once they get to college," reported Mississippi Today.

Enrolling under-prepared students impacts graduation rates. IHL data shows the average six-year graduation rate for Mississippi public universities is 50%. The rates for each university are ASU 34%, DSU 36%, JSU 39%, MSU 61%, MUW 39%, MVSU 26%, UM 59%, USM 45%.

"Mississippi’s postsecondary education system as a whole awards fewer bachelor’s degrees than the national average,” reported"


The above information suggests our high schools are doing a poor job preparing students for university level work, we let far too many under-prepared students into our universities, and we're having to hustle out-of-state students to keep our universities filled up.

Nevertheless, MSU President Mark Keenum, DSU President William LaForge, and IHL Commissioner Glenn Boyce "warned legislators that continued declines in state funding could cause serious damage to public universities," reported Mississippi Today.

University officials appear to want more money to keep doing what they've been doing without promising better results. Albert Einstein called doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results "insanity."

More than one successful business leader in Mississippi have suggested that raising university admission standards could eliminate the need for remediation, dramatically improve graduation rates, and significantly reduce costs.

Gunn's group also discussed the admission standards, reported Mississippi Today. The report said IHL Commissioner Glenn Boyce called them "one of the lowest" set of standards in the nation and that he and university presidents have begun discussing the pros and cons of the current standards for both in and out of state students. He called access to higher education a pro. “We don’t want to cut that access off,” he said.


So, which is more important access or success?

Access to near certain failure at universities might be worth cutting off, particularly when access to community colleges is a viable, more affordable alternative.

There is no doubt Mississippi needs many more university graduates. But that doesn't mean we need to underprice tuition to attract out-of-state students or allow thousands of under-prepared students to enroll.

State money is tight. Pouring more money into a flawed system seems ill-advised, if not insane. Legislators should take a hard look at university admission standards and out-of-state tuition. While raising admission standards and out-of-state tuition prices would be controversial and opposed by most universities, scarce budget dollars dictate hard looks across the board.

Crawford is a syndicated columnist from Meridian (


Anonymous said...

When you take Ole Miss and Ms State out of the picture, the graduation rate is about 37%. Why are we pouring good money into these abysmally poor schools. Close or at least consolidate these underperforming schools. What do we think of high schools with a 37% graduation rate? Good colleges need and deserve state money. Bad schools don't deserve the money. Look at what that woman at Jackson State did with the money they had in reserve over the last few years.

Anonymous said...

You'll never close or consolidate JSU, ASU or MVSU. Never.

Johnny Weir said...

Did they ever find the money that came up missing under that women?

Anonymous said...

Way too many schools. Leave MSU, UM, Southern Miss, and JSU. Roll the rest into those.

Anonymous said...

Too many Mississippi public schools are having to deal with behavior issues instead of teaching. It's not the teachers faults in districts like JPS and the Delta. It's the parents that are doing a bad job at raising their children and the government for making public schools put up with bs students. IF JPS could get rid of say a third of the students for being bad the other two-thirds could probably succeed.

Anonymous said...

Kill all the schools but keep the football programs. We must keep our priorities in tact.

Anonymous said...

It wuld be interesting what savings if any, Louisiana has felt since they rolled their directional schools into the LSU system.

Anonymous said...

Bill leaves out some key points here... he knows better than anyone then blanked admission standards are a result of the Ayers settlement. The Ayers settlement he helped negotiate when he was a member of the IHL Board. Bill, what else did you do ( or more likely didn't) to help solve this problem when you were on the IHL Board or in the Legislature?

PittPanther said...

Mississippi secondary schools suck.
Mississippi colleges suck.

In Other news, water is wet, and the sky is blue.

This is what happens after decades of only caring about football, parties on the quad/grove, and what frat/sorority you belong to. This state doesn't give a hoot about actual education.

mbrookes said...

How much do the colleges and universities spend on remedial classes? If a person can't read, write and do math, should he/she even be in higher education?

Anonymous said...

3:05 forgot that Bill led the fight to close/merge universities when he was in the Legislature and on the College Board. When the court failed to approve the Board's closure/merger plan, he did help devise a reasonable settlement. Don't believe admission standards are part of Ayers settlement.

Anonymous said...

12:58, it was a good bit of money, but I think the lady you are referring to was not so much that she was a multiple. She was able to do it as an individual person.

Anonymous said...

Damn 3:05. So the Ayers settlement is Bill's fault! Yes, he was on the IHL board at the time it was (finally) settled. One of a dozen members, multiple lawyers, and if I remember correctly, there was a federal judge involved.

And the actual settlement didn't say to reduce the standards - that was just a result of the requirements for the settlement. Maybe you ought to be looking at the (now wealthy) attorney that brought the case and lived off of it for a dozen or so years and the idiocy of what was required to be able to finally put it to bed.

Federal judge that thought something good could automatically be the result of trying to correct wrongs by going forward under phony reality. But, I'm sure you would rather throw stones at Crawford just because he opines here under his name.

Cy Rosenblatt said...

Bill Crawford understands higher education as well as any person in the state. As a legislator, he did everything possible to get the state to focus on efficiency and outcomes. When he speaks, folk ought to listen.

Anonymous said...

Ayers backfired on black racists and you people can't change that.

Anonymous said...

1-enrolling in a college/university does not guarantee you will graduate

2-it's normal for people not to complete a legitimate university degree

3-do we need 6 division 1 athletic programs? (3 FBS, 3 FCS? all still divison 1)

4-why do certain state universities deeply discount out of state tuition and beg the state for more money?

5-what's going to change?

Do They Still Call Roll? said...

The number of Division 1 (or any other division) athletic programs in a state isn't the issue. Those programs pay for themselves. In fact, they also prop up a lot of other things on college campuses. So, no need to decry that number. Do we really need them? To answer your question, yes.

'It's normal for people to not complete a university degree'? Really? Although it happens, its certainly not the norm.

Anonymous said...

The Valley needs to be closed. It doesn't have the historical significance of JSU or ASU, and is literally one of the worst public universities in the country. Absolutely no reason for it to continue to exist. Same with the W. Decrease the number of majors at Alcorn, and cut bait with regards to administrators and unnecessary professors on the state tit. Hold JSU accountable for the fact that it is nowhere near its vision for being a "major" regional urban university. Cut the number of JUCO's in about half. Our resources are spread too thin. If it weren't for historical significance JSU and Alcorn should be merged.

Anonymous said...

As state contributions have lagged schools have tried to hang on to enrollment by taking anyone they can. It is a vicious cycle of knowing that remediation costs money, but needing the butt in the seat for enrollment. This is further advanced by students getting financial aid that keep the whole system moving forward. We do not have enough students to fill all of our universities, but consolidation is an issue no one has the guts to fix. Fixing the system will require a ton of pain, layoffs, and bad press and good people will suffer. But, that will have to happen to save the entire system.

Anonymous said...

6:07. It's 10:13. Please check your facts

Subsidies needed for Mississippi Athletic Programs in Higher Education

MS Valley-2.29 Milliion
Alcorn: 5.3 Million
JSU: 5.9 Million
USM: 8.7

Ole Miss and MSU put money back into the general fund of their universities.
So, you are wrong.

Normal meant in the sense it's not unusual for someone to not complete a degree. Students drop out of college every day.

PittPanther said...

In a fair and just state, where things are done only for the good of the state, we would close ASU, FSU, MVSU, and MUW. Leave four major schools - UM, MSU, USM, and MSU. And don't forget to move MSMS somewhere, perhaps to MSU.

But this state is not fair and just, and whenever unchecked, things are done out of hate and bigotry. This state would close ASU and MVSU, and rebrand JSU as UM at Jackson. And leave all other schools untouched.

Anonymous said...

don't close the jucos. They are very cost effective and their have technical training programs that Mississippi needs. Raise the ACT requirements at the full Universities and stop these special classes.

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