Degree Programs

December 15, 2017

A statewide initiative launched earlier this year to help former higher education students who did not complete courses needed to earn their degrees is off to a good start at East Mississippi Community College.  

Six students awarded their associate’s degrees during EMCC’s Dec. 12 graduation ceremonies did so thanks to the Complete 2 Compete (C2C) program, which helps students 21 years or older who have been out of college two years or more.

Another 22 students who signed up for the C2C program are enrolled for the spring term at EMCC and 62 more are slated to begin next fall, EMCC Complete to Compete Program Coordinator Michele Arney said.

“People are really excited about the Complete 2 Compete program and the response has been phenomenal,” Arney said. “There are many more people out there who could benefit from the program and now is a great time for them to return to school and finish their education.”

The Mississippi Institutions of High Learning and the Mississippi Community College Board launched Complete 2 Compete in August, with the Mississippi Public Universities and the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges assisting with implementation of the initiative.

Students who qualify can enroll at any college or university in the state that offers the classes they need to graduate.

“EMCC actually had the first student in the state to earn a degree through the Complete 2 Compete program,” Arney said.

According to the C2C website, more than 100,000 adults in Mississippi can earn their degrees by taking additional coursework, with many of those only needing a few classes to graduate.

Caledonia resident Anna Harrell took higher education classes years ago, first at EMCC, then Mississippi State University and finally more than a decade ago at Mississippi University for Women.

“I didn’t have any idea how many classes I needed to graduate,” Harrell said. “I heard about the program and contacted Michele Arney at EMCC and she found out I only needed one class to graduate.”

After passing her final exam in biology Dec. 6,  Harrell was awarded her associate’s degree in business from EMCC.

Some 28,000 former students in the state have already earned enough credits for an associate’s degree, with more than 2,400 having enough credits to be awarded a bachelor’s degree, program officials estimate in a press release.

“Students are linked with a coach who will help them identify what classes they need to take to finish their degree and help them maximize the credits they have already earned,” Arney said.

Information about the program is available online at www.msc2c.org. To connect with a program coordinator, email complete2compete@eastms.edu. Returning students will be provided a list of schools that offer the classes they need to finish their degrees.

Incentives in the program include grade forgiveness, online classes and flexible schedules, credit for learning or military experience, and financial aid in the form of scholarships, discounts and state grants. Tuition assistance grants will be available to qualified applicants beginning in 2018.

Harrell, who is married and has two children, said she is grateful for the Complete 2 Compete program.

“If I had not looked into it I would have never known that I only needed one class to graduate,” Harrell said.