Southwest Mississippi Community College, Alcorn State and Jackson State University recieve grant funding from US. Dept. of Education

U.S. Senators Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith, and U.S. Congressman Michael Guest announced today U.S. Department of Education granted awards totaling over $1.7 million.

The grants will be awarded to Southwest Mississippi Community College, Alcorn State University, and Jackson State University.

“A college education can be a lifeline for students who are looking to advance their career opportunities,” Wicker said. “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.”

Southwest Mississippi Community College (SMCC) initially received a $592,000 grant through the Predominantly Black Institutions (PBI) Program to increase student retention through degree and training programs with a stress on STEM-related instruction.

Alcorn State University (ASU) was awarded two Talent Search Program grants worth $554,570 and Jackson State University (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.

There are three kinds of grants that the U.S. Department of Education offers:

  • Discretionary grants: awarded using a competitive process.
  • Student loans or grants: to help students attend college.
  • Formula grants: uses formulas determined by Congress and has no application process.

The U.S. Department of Education announced last week that more than 300 grants were to be awarded in FY2021. These grants will help to build the academic capacity and fiscal stability of institutions that enroll large proportions of minority and financially disadvantaged students.

The Department invested close to $1 billion in the nation’s most under-resourced institutions and communities. The $1 billion includes over $500 million to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), around $65 million to Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (TCCU), around $300 million to Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs), and more than $100 million to eligible under-resourced institutions.

“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.”