Thousands of adult students could return to colleges and universities across the state to complete their degrees. MPB's Ashley Norwood reports on how a multimillion-dollar grant could help.
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation is providing up to 7,000 adult learners a one time grant of $500 each through the Complete 2 Compete Initiative. The grants could help eligible students pay off previous college debt, pay tuition for current classes and buy textbooks.
Higher education Commissioner Glenn Boyce says the funds will help more Mississippians earn their college degrees.
"In order to improve our economy in order to grow the economy the demand for a higher educated labor force is prominent in today's competitive nature of how do we increase economic gain. Without it we will absolutely not be able to grow as a state," said Boyce.
The Complete 2 Compete Initiative launched this August by the Institutions of Higher Learning and the Mississippi Community College Board. It is designed to help adults who attended college previously but never earned a degree.
Debra Harris is the first adult student to earn a degree through the initiative. Harris began her college career at the University of Mississippi in 1977. She earned her bachelor's degree in September.
"When you start something and you're not able to finish it and then if you're able to finally get that piece of paper saying you did this, that's very important. I feel so much more accomplished," said Harris.
The $3.5 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation will provide scholarships over a two year period.