Mississippi Bill Targets Three Colleges for Closure

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The Mississippi State Capitol in Jackson, Mississippi. (Photo by Michael Barera)

A new cost-cutting bill proposed in the Mississippi Senate targets three state-funded higher education institutions for closure by June 20, 2028.

If passed, the legislation would require the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning to select three out of eight existing universities in the state to close, considering factors such as enrollment and graduation rates, degrees offered, and local economic impact. The board would be required to host listening sessions on each campus and announce its decisions by June 20, 2025.

Three historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) are among the schools targeted by the bill. 

The institutions at risk of closure due to this bill are:

  • Alcorn State University
  • Delta State University
  • Jackson State University
  • Mississippi State University
  • Mississippi University
  • Mississippi Valley State University
  • The University of Mississippi
  • The University of Southern Mississippi

If a college closes, its property, buildings, assets, and funds may be transferred to another state agency or nonprofit. Any research institute or laboratory at a closing college may be relocated to another school.

Though the bill is still in committee, if passed, it could have a significant impact on the overall landscape of higher education in the state. With only 22.8% of Mississippians having earned a bachelor’s degree or higher, according to the World Population Review, the state ranks 49th in the nation, only behind West Virginia, in college graduation rates.