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11/16/2017 - Jackson, Miss.

Students who want to finish what they started through the Complete 2 Compete initiative will have some of their financial barriers lifted, thanks to a $3.5 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Funding provided by the foundation over the next two years will be used for C2C Tuition Assistance Grants that students may use to offset the costs of returning to pursue a degree.

"We are very grateful to the Kellogg Foundation for providing these resources," said Dr. Glenn Boyce, Commissioner of Higher Education. "These grants will remove the financial roadblock and clear the pathway for former students to pursue their dreams of earning a degree, which will in turn open many more doors for them."

The Complete 2 Compete initiative was launched to provide information and resources to help Mississippi adults who have completed some college, but no degree, to return to college and complete the requirements necessary to earn their degrees. Some former students may be interested in this opportunity, but may need some financial assistance.

Funding provided by the Kellogg Foundation will provide 7,000 adults with one-time grants of $500 each. The C2C Tuition Assistance Grants may be used to cover prior debt owed to an institution, preventing re-enrollment, tuition assistance, and textbook costs. The grants will be paid directly to the community college or university to cover the adult learner's educational debt or expenses.

The Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning and the Mississippi Community College Board have partnered together to identify target groups, implement adult learner services and re-engage adult students to help them complete their degrees. Also supporting the effort are the Governor's Office, the Mississippi Department of Human Services and the Mississippi Department of Employment Security.

"Many adults who started a degree but didn't finish would like to return to college, but they don't know where to start," said Dr. Casey Turnage, Director of Policy and Strategic Initiatives for IHL. "Complete 2 Compete will guide students through the process of returning to college.  Thanks to the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, we have the funds to provide adults with one-time grants to assist them in returning to finish their college degrees."

To be eligible for the grants, a student must be 21 years of age or older; must not have attended a post-secondary institution within the past 24 consecutive months; must meet the FAFSA definition of an independent student; must be able to ear required GPA to earn degree; must not have been disciplinarily dismissed from his or her most recently attended higher education institution. Priority will be given on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Through Complete 2 Compete and with the assistance of the grants provided by the Kellogg Foundation, many Mississippians will be able to earn their degrees. This will positively impact their lives and the lives of their children by bolstering their employability and earnings capacity. Increasing the state's educational attainment rate will make Mississippi's workforce more attractive and improve the state economy.

The Tuition Assistance Grants program is administered and supported by the Complete 2 Compete program. For more information, contact the C2C Project Coordinator, Stephanie Bullock, at 601-432-6051 or sbullock@mississippi.edu.

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The Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning governs the public universities in Mississippi, including Alcorn State University; Delta State University; Jackson State University; Mississippi State University including the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine; Mississippi University for Women; Mississippi Valley State University; the University of Mississippi including the University of Mississippi Medical Center; and the University of Southern Mississippi.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.

The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans, and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit www.wkkf.org.

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