Contact: Sid Salter
Mississippi State University has joined forces with East Mississippi Community College and Meridian Community College to increase collaboration for nine baccalaureate degree programs.
MSU President Mark E. Keenum joined EMCC President Tom Huebner and MCC President Scott Elliott today [July 15] at the MSU Riley Campus in making a joint announcement on expanding partnerships. The new agreements offer a comprehensive approach allowing students pursuing an associate’s degree to conveniently bridge the gap to a bachelor’s degree.
The institutions are concentrating initially on nine programs, including accounting, applied technology, business administration, elementary education (traditional and technical paths), kinesiology, secondary education (English and social studies) and social work. The applied technology and one elementary education program offer significant transfer of credit from technical programs at the community colleges, which demonstrates increased collaboration outside of traditional transfer pathways between two- and four-year institutions.
Key partnership features include the ability for students to concurrently enroll at both the university and a partner community college, counting the combined credit hours toward financial aid eligibility; course-specific registration guides; as well as academic advisers at the community college campuses to assist students with course selection, ensuring efficient degree completion and maximum credit transferability.
“Students in east central Mississippi can benefit from an abundance of excellent educational opportunities, from dual credit to terminal degrees,” Keenum said. “These new partnerships are aimed at comprehensively presenting such opportunities in a navigable plan that will afford students one of the nation’s greatest values on educational investments.”
Elliott said he views earning an associate’s degree from MCC and a bachelor’s degree from MSU as a “powerful combination” for preparing graduates for exciting future career opportunities.
Huebner said the bachelor’s degree programs covered in the partnership represent “important areas of interest” and provide transfer students with a clear pathway to completing a four-year degree.
“It takes the ‘guesswork’ out of building a class schedule because students will know up front what they need to take at EMCC and how that fits directly into their four-year degree at MSU-Meridian,” Huebner said.
Terry Dale Cruse, administrative director and head of campus for MSU-Meridian, said higher education can be complex to navigate, particularly for first-time students, but the partnerships will provide students with new resources.
“MSU is committed to providing advisers who will be housed one or two days a week at these two community college campuses to help break down any barriers that would prevent students from reaching their educational goals,” Cruse said. He also noted that Payscale recently ranked a degree from MSU as the highest return on investment in Mississippi. “I believe if students know the significance of that ranking, they will see the benefits in these pathways to transfer to MSU,” he added.
Elliott said the partnership is another key in supporting economic development for the region. “This is a strong signal to prospective industry that we are serious about higher education opportunities in east Mississippi and west Alabama,” he added.
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