Mississippi senators announce $1.7 million in education grants for in-state schools

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith and U.S. Congressman Michael Guest on Thursday announced the award of U.S. Department of Education grants totaling more than $1.7 million to Southwest Mississippi Community College, 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.  ASU was awarded two Talent Search Program grants worth $554,570, while JSU received $277,375 for its Talent Search program.

“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.”

“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.”

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

In addition to a focus on student retention and degree achievement, 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 on to post-secondary education.

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