Commissioner of Higher Education Glenn Boyce speaks at the meeting of the Institutes of Higher Learning Nov. 17, 2016, in Jackson. Credit: Sereena Henderson, Mississippi Today

State education officials announced Thursday a new initiative that will help former students return to the classroom to complete their college degrees. The Complete 2 Compete program, as it was introduced at an Institutes of Higher Learning meeting in Jackson, could award 200,000-plus Mississippians with college degrees.

“If you’re not educated, you have the greater chance of ending up with nothing,” said Dr. Glenn Boyce, the commissioner of the IHL board.

The partnership would include the Community College Board.

“Our community colleges are excited because we all understand that there’s a difference in lifetime wages in those who attain an educational degree versus those who do not,” Community College Board executive directer Andrea Mayfield.

According to Mayfield, they expect to receive funds from grants, philanthropies and partnerships across the state.

The initiative will target four classifications of people:

  • Former adult students eligible for reverse transfer associate degree with no additional coursework
  • Former adult students eligible for baccalaureate degree with no additional coursework
  • Former adult students with some college and no degree who may complete an associate degree with some additional coursework
  • Former adult students with some college and no degree who may complete a bachelor’s degree with some additional coursework

Former students may reach out to their former college or university to receive further details on the initiative.

Ashley F.G. Norwood

Ashley F. G. Norwood, a native of Jackson, earned a bachelor's degree in English from Jackson State University and a master’s degree from the Meek School of Journalism at the University of Mississippi. Norwood, who specializes in multimedia journalism, has been recognized nationally for her documentary film the fly in the buttermilk, which covers the history, perceptions and principles of black Greek-lettered organizations at the University of Mississippi.