Grant to Help 7,000 Mississippians Finish College Degrees | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Grant to Help 7,000 Mississippians Finish College Degrees

Commissioner Glenn Boyce announced that the W.K. Kellogg Foundation donated $3.5 million to IHL to provide $500 grants for adult Mississippians wanting to return to college and finish their degree through the Complete to Compete program. Photo courtesy Glenn Boyce

Commissioner Glenn Boyce announced that the W.K. Kellogg Foundation donated $3.5 million to IHL to provide $500 grants for adult Mississippians wanting to return to college and finish their degree through the Complete to Compete program. Photo courtesy Glenn Boyce

— Mississippians looking to finish their college degrees may receive a $500 one-time tuition assistance grant after the W.K. Kellogg Foundation donated $3.5 million to the Complete 2 Compete initiative. The program helps adults statewide see how close they are to receiving their associate's or bachelor's degree, based on courses they have taken in the past.

The C2C program is for Mississippians who have been out of college for at least two consecutive years and are at least 21 years old. Eligible applicants could receive a $500 grant to help offset the cost of previous student debt, textbooks or tuition.

"We are very grateful to the Kellogg Foundation for providing these resources," Dr. Glenn Boyce, the state commissioner of higher education, said in a press release. "These grants will remove the financial roadblock and clear the pathway for former students to pursue their dreams of earning a degree, which will in turn open many more doors for them."

The Kellogg Foundation grant will enable 7,000 adults to receive $500 grants to help offset the cost of returning to college to finish their degree. The grants will be paid directly to the community college or university.

C2C is a state-run initiative through the Community College Board and the Institutions of Higher Learning, which allows students to determine for free what they need to finish their degree. Potential students apply online and are paired with a coach to get their transcripts evaluated and see how many credits they have left to graduate. C2C can match an applicant with a list of schools that offer the courses needed to complete their degree.

More than 30,000 Mississippians may have earned enough credits but were not awarded a degree, the C2C website says, and 127,000 Mississippians are within a few courses of earning their degree.

The first C2C graduate received her diploma in October from the University of Mississippi in a ceremony with the governor and the UM chancellor.

More than 3,000 students have completed the application, which is free, on the C2C website.

"Many adults who started a degree but didn't finish would like to return to college, but they don't know where to start," Dr. Casey Turnage, IHL director of policy, said in a press release. "Complete 2 Compete will guide students through the process of returning to college. Thanks to the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, we have the funds to provide adults with one-time grants to assist them in returning to finish their college degrees."

Mississippians interested in seeing if they are eligible to return to college and complete their degree can check at www.c2cpathfinder.org/c2c.

Email state reporter Arielle Dreher at arielle@jacksonfreepress.com.

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