3 Mississippi schools get $1.7M in education grants

Published 5:15 am Sunday, October 3, 2021

An announcement of $1.7 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Education was made this week by Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), of Brookhaven, Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Rep. Michael Guest (R-Miss.).

The grants were made to Southwest Mississippi Community College in Summit, Alcorn State University and Jackson State University.

SMCC received an initial $592,000 grant through the Predominantly Black Institutions Program to increase student retention through degree and training programs, with an emphasis on STEM-related instruction.

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Alcorn State was awarded two Talent Search Program grants worth $554,570 and JSU received $277,375 for its Talent Search Program.

“These Mississippi institutions understand the challenges that their students encounter. They have been awarded these grants to carry out programs that can help these students overcome barriers and access the higher-paying job opportunities available to graduates with certificates and degrees,” Hyde-Smith said.

“I’m grateful the U.S. Department of Education recognized the incredible work of SMCC, Jackson State and Alcorn State to educate young people across Mississippi,” Guest said. “Increasing student retention Is a critical part of our nation’s investment in our future leaders and the emphasis on STEM programs will ensure these students are prepared for a successful career in many important fields of work.”

Wicker said a college education could be a lifeline for students looking to advance career opportunities.

“This set of grants will enable SMCC, Alcorn State and JSU to increase their outreach and encourage more students to pursue higher education in our state.”

The PBI and Talent Search grants represent the first year installment for grants anticipated to extend for five years.

SMCC will also improve remote learning and develop an Electrical Lineworker program to expand access to STEM programs for underrepresented students.

ASU and JSU will be able to reach hundreds of students through the Talent Search program by helping them graduate from high school and continue into postsecondary education.