Mississippi State Auditor Advocates for Degree Program Funding Shift to Curb Brain Drain

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The state auditor of Mississippi, Shad White, has issued a proposal to reduce funding for selected degree programs at public universities within the state. According to White, these programs tend to be less successful in getting graduates employable and still residing in Mississippi post-graduation.

The report, brought to light on Wednesday, suggests that funding attrition should target programs like anthropology, African American studies, women and gender studies; areas that, according to White, have a history of launching graduates into low-paying careers outside Mississippi’s borders.

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White advocates for repurposing that funding towards fulfilling the state’s workforce requirements to mitigate the persisting labor shortage and brain drain plaguing the state. He argued that society reaps more benefits from investments in high demand fields such as Electrical Engineering or Registered Nursing where students are more likely to stay and contribute substantially to Mississippi’s economy.

The report leverages data from state schools and the Mississippi Department of Employment Security. It reveals that graduates from fields related to health care and education are comparatively more likely to work in Mississippi, earning more than their counterparts in general fields.

White took to social media, on a platform previously recognized as Twitter, to further underline this stance. He cautioned against certain degrees labeling them as “garbage fields” that produce graduates “offering no real skills”, posing a liability to the state’s economy. White urged students to participate in programs of their preference, but asserted that it should be done without taxpayer funding.

The report concludes with a plea to Mississippi’s state authorities to rethink their approach to funding public universities, taking into account the state’s attrition of talents. It particularly casts the responsibility on the legislature to assemble a study committee of job market experts who can define the most needed and least needed programs and design a funding structure thereafter.

Such crucial decisions about education funding and workforce development have the potential to significantly impact the economic landscape of Mississippi. Similar decisions are made daily in numerous industries, including that of online gaming. As part of West Island Blog, we have experience observing and commenting on such strategic decisions, an example being in the online casino industry.

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