HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker announced good news for seniors graduating in 2019 in the City of Hattiesburg and in Forrest County.
Students will have the opportunity to continue their education with tuition assistance.
“If you decide to attend Pearl River Community College after graduation, you can go there and you can go tuition free,” Barker announced in the Hattiesburg High School Auditorium.
The Hattiesburg City Council approved $20,000 to go into this program. This partnership will also take care of any tuition gap if a student has received any type of financial aid or scholarship money.
“If they graduate from high school, they will have four semesters at PRCC paid for, tuition-free,” Barker said.
The Forrest County Board of Supervisors will also be taking part in the program for graduating seniors within Forrest County. The county is putting aside $100,000 for the program, which covers a larger geographical area compared to the city.
“The Forrest County Board of Supervisors knows the importance of helping these children get an education, a skill set, so they can stay right here in the Pine Belt,” said Forrest County Board of Supervisors President David Hogan.
Educational leaders praising the partnership and educational possibilities.
“The opportunity to go and get a leg up for the first two years of college career is awesome,” said Hattiesburg High School Principal Eric Boney.
“One of the biggest challenges students have in the ability to go to college is financial restrictions," said Pearl River Community College President Adam Breerwood. "So, this now has removed that barrier for them. It has taken an obstacle out of their way to achieve educational success.”
Students were happy to hear the news.
“I was so excited," said Hattiesburg student Cameron Spencer. “One, I wanted to go to college anyway. Pearl River was one of my top choices. I’m going there now for sure because it’s free.”
“I’m going to PRCC for two years and get my associates," Ashlyn Spann said. "I’m going to PRCC, Poplarville!”
Barker said the program allows for any 2019 graduate within the city, not just from Hattiesburg High School, to be included.