Pearl River Community College Tuition Assistance Program Provides over 65 Local Students with Financial Support

Hancock County (Bienville)

KILN, MISS: The Pearl River Community College (PRCC) County Tuition Assistance Program (CTAP) awarded over $74,000 of tuition assistance to 69 students with an average award of just over $1,000 per student. The funds provide any remaining financing for tuition students need
after other grants, scholarships and awards have been accounted for. The funds do not need to be paid back and have been awarded to over 125 students since the program’s creation in 2021.

The funds from the CTAP program are awarded to qualifying high school graduates who reside in Hancock and Forrest County, to attend four consecutive semesters at PRCC in a degree or certificate program of their choosing. The program supports workforce development and local
economic growth by keeping young minds local and contributing to the growth of the region.

This program is made possible through support from County and City Officials from the City of Hattiesburg, Forrest County, and Hancock County, and approved by the Hancock County Board of Supervisors. Southern Mississippi Planning and Development District serves as the granting
agency to provide funding to the college.

In the 2021- 2023 school years, the program provided over $130,000 in tuition assistance to local students. City of Diamondhead and HCPHC each contributed $5,000 a year to the program, with the goal of providing opportunities to graduates of the local high schools. The CTAP program ensures that no student is left without an option to obtain a quality education in your area and PRCC aims to fill the gap, ensuring that each student has funding available to cover up to full tuition.

Blaine LaFontaine, CEO of HCPHC expresses his support for the program: “Our desire for Hancock County through the CTAP program is for every student to have continued access to educational programs and gain the skills and training needed to enter the local workforce. The more students who receive post secondary education and training will help to fulfill jobs we have available in Hancock County and create a pipeline for years to come allowing us to recruit more high paying employers to the county.”

With the creation of CTAP, students don’t need to withdraw from college due to a lack of funding. The impact is significant and the combined resources of partners opens opportunities for students who may not have viewed college as a financial option before. Candace Harper, Vice President for Enrollment Management & Business Services at PRCC underlines the program’s gravity: “As a first-generation college student, myself, I can personally testify that the emotional struggle surrounding how to pay for college is one that deters many from attending. I commend what is being done and wish more counties would see the value in helping fill in the gaps for our college students who return the investment tenfold as contributing citizens in our workforce.”

Pearl River Community College continues to move Hancock and surrounding counties into the future by developing the latest courses and resources to fill workforce development gaps. The latest addition to their Hancock County campus is an Aviation Workforce Academy to support the beginning aerospace industry in Hancock County and beyond.