Meridian Star

New Today

January 25, 2014

Community colleges seek to pay tuition for all

JACKSON — JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — House members are considering a plan to pay community college tuition for high school graduates who are not covered by other financial aid for recent high school graduates.

For a 75,000-student system, paying everyone's tuition might sound like a budget buster, but officials say it will cost less than $4.5 million a year. That's because the money would only be offered after a student sought all other aid they're eligible for from the federal and state governments and their community college.

The House Universities and Colleges Committee passed House Bill 424 Wednesday, sending it to the Appropriations Committee. That committee must also act before the full House would take it up.

"It has the potential to be a great program," said Kell Smith, a spokesman for Mississippi's Community College Board.

Local governments and private donors are already running such plans for residents of 20 of Mississippi's 82 counties. Residents of six more counties will get the same offer next fall.

The proposed law would offer the money to any Mississippi resident who graduated from high school, whether public, private or home school. The student must be younger than 21 and must enroll within 12 months of graduation. The student would have to take a full-time slate of 15 credit hours and maintain a 2.5 GPA, or lose the scholarship. If they met those standards, students would be eligible for four semesters of free tuition.

The idea started at Meridian Community College, which began offering what it calls a tuition guarantee in fall 1996, using privately donated money. Haley Parker, who graduated from West Lauderdale High School, is one beneficiary. A sophomore, she plans to transfer to Mississippi State University in Starkville to major in microbiology.

Parker said her family had hoped to send her away to college for four years, but couldn't afford it.

Text Only
New Today
Biz Marquee
New Today

New federal data show Mississippi received 179 unaccompanied children caught at the U.S. border this year. Gov. Phil Bryant wrote to President Barack Obama demanding the president pre-announce plans to send immigrants to Mississippi, saying Mississippi would block transports. Do you agree with Bryant?

     View Results
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites Anti-violence Advocate Killed, but Not Silenced. Dempsey: Putin May Light Fire and Lose Control Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide