MSU-Meridian, East Central Community College announce new pathways partnership


DECATUR, Miss.—A new partnership between East Central Community College and Mississippi State University will help area students successfully enter and complete baccalaureate degree programs.

The two institutions signed an agreement Tuesday [Nov. 8] creating a Partnership Pathways program that will ease the transition to a bachelor’s degree program for ECCC students. The partnership initially concentrates on 10 academic programs and will allow students to enroll concurrently at ECCC and MSU. As part of the agreement, MSU will place academic advisers at ECCC to assist students with course selection, ensuring efficient degree completion and maximum transfer of credits.

The programs of study featured in the partnership include accounting, business administration, Bachelor of Applied Technology in healthcare services, elementary education (early childhood and middle school concentrations), kinesiology (clinical exercise physiology concentration/clinical exercise physiology medical route), social work and secondary education (English and social studies concentrations).

“MSU’s growing partnerships with Mississippi community colleges greatly enhance our ability to reach students who choose this innovative path to accessing higher education,” said MSU President Mark E. Keenum. “East Central Community College serves many of the state’s counties where the majority of students already choose MSU, and we value our close relationship with ECCC and their outstanding president, Dr. Billy Stewart. This is a win-win for MSU and ECCC.”

“We are grateful for our partnership with MSU and their visionary president, Dr. Mark Keenum, in meeting the educational needs of the citizens of our five-county service area. The announcement of today’s agreement between our college and MSU is just another step in the fulfillment of our 2020 Vision strategic plan and the institutional commitments of Student Success and Teaching & Learning,” said Stewart.

“This partnership will allow ECCC students to benefit from coherent, structured educational pathways leading to a baccalaureate degree that will enhance their opportunities for career advancement and upward mobility. Therefore, our students will be the major beneficiaries of today’s announcement and that is the way it should be,” Stewart said.

 Students in the selected programs will be given course and program-specific registration guides that highlight classes to be taken at ECCC and MSU in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree. MSU-Meridian Administrative Director and Head of Campus Terry Dale Cruse said partnership pathways “take the guesswork” out of transitioning from a strong community college to a leading research university. MSU has similar agreements with Meridian Community College and East Mississippi Community College.

“Mississippi State shares a common goal with East Central in helping students complete programs of study,” Cruse said. “Through clearly articulated academic programs, concurrent enrollment opportunities, financial aid consortiums, and MSU advisers based at the East Central campus, we hope to provide the support network needed to assist students in reaching their educational goals.”

For more on MSU-Meridian’s partnership pathways, visit

East Central Community College, located in Decatur, is a comprehensive two-year institution of higher education that serves the residents of Leake, Neshoba, Newton, Scott and Winston counties in east central Mississippi. For more, visit

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at

Photo: East Central Community College president Billy Stewart signs agreement with MSU President, Mark Keenum creating a Partnership Pathways program that will ease the transition to a bachelor’s degree program for ECCC students. (photo courtesy of ECCC)

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