JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – As colleges and universities begin classes within the coming weeks, a scholarship at one Mississippi university doubles the number of new students on campus. 

Mississippi College’s (MC) Leland Speed Scholarship fills the gap left by other MC scholarships so Mississippi students can pay no tuition while in undergrad. According to Michael Wright, MC’s Dean of Enrollment Management, more than 950 new students are expected to start their college careers at MC on August 21. This is compared to 434 new students last year. 

Wright graduated from MC in 2006. Since then, he has worked in the admissions office. Familiar with enrollment trends, he knows that there have been gaps in campus housing for a while now. According to Wright, the fall 2023 semester is the first time MC dorms have been at capacity in five years.  

“Clinton area, then I think the Jackson metro area, are at its peak when MC’s in full session, when we’ve got 1900 students living on campus,” Wright said. 

The Leland Speed Scholarship only applies to incoming first-year students and transfers, not current undergraduates or incoming grad students. Wright said that students had not harbored ill will for the most part.

“There’s been a handful that have joked they started here at just the wrong time,” Wright said. 

Public and private schools in the state will most likely offer scholarship packages and other incentives which similarly entice Mississippi students in the coming years. Higher education institutions nationwide are expected to face declining or stagnant enrollment over the next few years. Due to this and other factors, leaders like Wright understand that the boost in enrollment from the Leland Speed scholarship will be short-lived unless other things are put in place to improve the student experience. 

“We need to have happy students that love MC that are telling other students about how incredible it is, and they should check it out too,” Wright said. 

Though it is too late now to receive the scholarship for the upcoming fall semester, Mississippians looking to start or finish their undergraduate careers at MC for the fall 2024 semester can qualify by meeting the following requirements

  1. Are a Mississippi resident.
  2. Are admitted to MC.
  3. Pay the $200 housing application fee by February 1, 2024.
  4. Live on campus in an MC residence hall.
  5. Fill out the federal and state aid applications.