Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour said yesterday that the state should consider merging some of its universities to save money. Barbour said Mississippi University for Women should merge with nearby Mississippi State University and that Alcorn State University and Mississippi Valley State University be merged into Jackson State University. The sports teams at Alcorn and Mississippi Valley would be disbanded with Jackson State’s athletic program remaining. Barbour said none of the campuses would close.

The proposed change would leave Mississippi with five public universities rather than the current eight. Barbour’s consolidation proposal would have to be approved by lawmakers and is part of his suggested budget for the fiscal year that begins next July 1. Barbour also proposed that the state’s 152 public school districts be consolidated into 100.

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