Can’t we all just get along?

Published 12:06 am Friday, March 26, 2010

Mississippi visitors are welcomed with buttermilk biscuits, fried chicken and ice tea so sweet that it’s nearly as comfortable on a pancake as in a Mason jar.

Mississippi has truly earned its moniker: The Hospitality State.

But the hospitality comes to screeching halt if you’re a college student from somewhere else.

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Savoring those Southern delicacies while attending college will cost the students — or their parents — dearly.

You see Mississippi, along with neighboring Louisiana and Alabama, refuse to play well together when it comes to offering reciprocity for out-of-state tuition waivers.

Since in-state tuition is heavily subsidized by state funds going directly to the colleges and universities, non-residents get left to pay the full tab.

State colleges and universities charge out-of-state students as much as 150 percent more than in-state students.

For years, local Sen. Bob M. Dearing has worked to get legislation passed that would allow community colleges — such as Copiah-Lincoln Community College — to waive out-of-state tuition for nearby, but technically out-of-state, students.

We applaud him for his efforts, even though his measures continue to get defeated year after year.

If Mississippi and Louisiana education leaders tried, we believe the two sides could work out a reciprocity agreement that would provide each state’s would-be students with a tuition break, while not breaking the state coffers, either.

If other states can work out the funding differences, Mississippi and Louisiana certainly can do the same.

Both states would certainly benefit by raising the level of education in their states and their neighborhood.