JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The Mississippi Community College Foundation received a $310,000 grant from the Woodward Hines Education Foundation (WHEF) to help qualifying Mississippi community college students impacted by COVID-19 stay on track towards graduation.
“These are difficult times for students who are trying to adjust to the many personal and educational challenges brought on by COVID-19,” said Dr. Ronnie Nettles, Executive Director of the Mississippi Community College Foundation. “We are delighted to partner with the Woodward Hines Education Foundation to help these students.”
“We know that many of Mississippi’s community college students are already vulnerable to unexpected financial hurdles,” said Jim McHale, WHEF President and CEO. “We viewed this as an emergent opportunity to provide immediate financial support to Mississippi’s two-year college students impacted by COVID-19, so they would not be forced to put their education on hold for financial reasons.”
The grant will establish student relief funds at all 15 Mississippi community colleges. Money can be used to help students with the costs associated with in-home internet access, fuel cards, credential fee stipends, to establish campus tablet or computer loan programs, or other costs that may be a barrier to college completion.
Itawamba Community College President (ICC) Dr. Jay Allen said he plans to use the money to ease the transition to online instruction for his students.
“While we know this transition has caused hardships on a number of our outstanding students, we are appreciative to the Woodward Hinds Education Foundation for believing in our mission and the communities we continue to serve,” said ICC President Dr. Jay Allen. “These funds will assist our students move their educational efforts forward.”
Mississippi Delta Community College (MDCC) President Dr. Tyrone Jackson explained that COVID-19 is an additional barrier to college completion.
“COVID-19 has created additional challenges for many of our students,” said Mississippi Delta Community College President Dr. Tyrone Jackson. “It is critical that we find ways to provide our students with the support and resources they need to stay on course during this particularly challenging time.”
This is not the first time WHEF has provided financial support to Mississippi’s community colleges. WHEF has awarded $490,000 to Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society to provide membership scholarships to high-achieving but underserved community college students. WHEF has also provided support to Coahoma Community College and Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College through a $900,000 grant to Achieving the Dream, to support the development of a peer learning community and build leadership and data capacity among each institution.
“I am grateful to the Woodward Hines Education Foundation for their continued commitment to education and specifically to Mississippi’s community colleges,” said Dr. Andrea Mayfield, Executive Director of the Mississippi Community College Board. “COVID-19 has impacted the lives of our students and their families in so many ways. This grant will help ease the stress so students can continue to focus on their education.”