Grants, scholarships defray cost of college

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, April 3, 2018

House Bill 405 would have provided approximately $1 million in funds to pay tuition for students at local community or junior colleges enrolled in technical classes that benefit their surrounding communities. According to the Associated Press, it was ultimately decided Mississippi did not have enough funds for the program, killing the bill.

While funding from HB 405 will not be available, there are still a number of scholarship opportunities available for future community college students in Pearl River County.

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Pearl River Community College offers various scholarships for incoming students ranging from academic, to service and foundational.

Dr. Scott Alsobrooks, Vice President of Workforce and Economic Development at PRCC, said the school distributes tiered, academic-based scholarships to students who have earned an ACT score of 21 or higher. Career-technical scholarships are also available to students who participated in a two-year career-technical program at their local high school. Depending on their average grade during the program, students could receive half, or even full tuition.

Alsobrooks said there are also several service scholarships for students who want to be involved in groups on PRCC’s campus to encourage student participation.

PRCC also offers foundational scholarships for students who meet certain criteria. Alsobrooks said these scholarships are usually provided by individuals, such as alumni, who want to help students in their community. He said that many of the scholarships may require certain degrees and short essays, but since there is a “plethora” to choose from, students should apply for as many as possible.

Outside of traditional scholarship opportunities, there are many community colleges across Mississippi that provide tuition assurance programs to residents of certain counties. These programs pay for any additional tuition costs left over after scholarships and grants. This method assures each community college student receives a free education, while keeping government costs low.  Alsobrooks said that PRCC is currently working towards establishing a tuition assurance program for students in the surrounding counties. While there is still a great deal of work that needs to be done to get everything up and running, Alsobrooks hopes this program will be available within the next few years.

While many scholarship deadlines may have passed, are still several opportunities available for Pearl River County students.  Besides PRCC’s scholarships, there are several funding opportunities available to students willing to do a little extra work and research.  Websites such as provide extensive lists of available scholarships on a local and national level. Alsobrooks encourages students to start looking into financial aid options now so they have access to a wider variety of options.  Information about scholarships can be found at