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JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – Mississippi’s institutions of higher learning have asked lawmakers for $72.4 million in more money for the fiscal year that begins next July 1.

Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves calls Tuesday’s presentation “compelling” but says what the universities want has to be balanced with millions of dollars in needs across state government.

Higher Education Commissioner Hank Bounds says that the eight public universities are in competition with each other and dozens of other colleges for students, faculty, research dollars and more.

Bounds says while there was a time when state appropriations were the main source of money, tuition now represents about 59 percent of the universities’ budgets while state funding has dropped to 32 percent.

Bounds says the universities have cut spending and consolidated programs and can do little more.

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