- Associated Press - Saturday, July 15, 2017

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) - The president of the University of Southern Mississippi is donating to a scholarship fund after receiving a pay raise.

The Hattiesburg American reports the state College Board recently gave Rodney Bennett a $72,630 raise. In a July 6 email to the university community, Bennett said he would donate that amount to help students.

With the raise, Bennett has a $300,000 state salary. Supplemented by private donations, it reaches $464,500.

Amid a tight state budget, USM has laid off three employees and eliminated 33 vacant jobs. Bennett said he is sensitive that his raise was granted as other employees have gone without raises.

Bennett said the College Board increased his salary to be consistent with those of other presidents at Mississippi’s research universities. His contract was also extended until June 2021.

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