PRCC pitching tuition program to regional Board of Supervisors

Published 7:00 am Thursday, August 2, 2018

Administration at Pearl River Community College would like to provide incoming students with a tuition wavier, if the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors agree.

PRCC President Dr. Adam Breerwood has already made similar proposals to the Lamar County Board of Supervisors and Forrest County Board of Supervisors. He’s calling it a “Tuition Assistance Program,” wherein students receive tuition for four consecutive semesters should they choose to pursue a two year degree at PRCC.

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Breerwood said, in order for prospective students to qualify, they would have to enroll immediately after high school graduation, or have recently completed a high school equivalency program.

While enrolled in the program, students would be required to maintain a 2.0 GPA and enroll in and maintain 15 hours of coursework each semester during the two year period. Requirements also include filling out scholarship applications and a Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

“After all financial aids are applied to their tuition, we will ask the county to kick in to cover the difference,” Breerwood said.

Other expenses involved with attending college, such as room and board and books, would not be included.

Breerwood said he plans to make a similar request to the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors in the fall.

Breerwood said students residing in Pearl River County make up most of the college’s enrollment rate. By implementing the program, the college can help the county attract industry and establish the area as a work ready community.

To meet the tuition costs, the college would request about $100,000 per semester from the county to support the program. If the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors agree to provide that amount of funding, tuition could be waived for about 320 Pearl River County students, or about $300 per student, he said.

He said the program would help retain students in the county, attract industry and provide people with the skills and education to help them contribute to the community.

The college is also expanding scholarship opportunities for enrolling students, Breerwood said. This year, the college increased its institutional scholarship by $900,000, he said.

PRCC also has a direct economic impact in the people employed at the college.

“Next year, just on the faculty salaries and benefits, PRCC will pump over $10.5 million back into the community,” Breerwood said.

Besides educating students, the program will serve as a catalyst to increase the county’s tax base and contribute by building a skilled work force, he said.

District 1 Supervisor Donald Hart said he wholeheartedly supports implementation of this program.

Hart said that studies show people who completed a two-year degree at a community college earn the equivalent of those completing four-year degrees at universities.

County Administrator Adrain Lumpkin said the program will be a great asset to the community, but the Board will have to look into options to fund it.

“A more educated workforce is a much better workforce,” he said.

Breerwood said he is also interested in implementing the program in Jeff Davis, Marion and Hancock counties.