MSU-Meridian’s partnership with JCJC creates new pathways toward degree completion

Written By: Teresa McCreery
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Date Submitted: 2017-06-29 21:30:57

ELLISVILLE – A partnership between officials at Jones County Junior College and Mississippi State University-Meridian has created new pathways for students to complete their baccalaureate program. JCJC is the fourth community/junior college in MSU-Meridian’s service area to partner with the university but it is the first two-year institution that has all 15 of the academic programs offered on the Meridian campus. 
“This partnership will enable students in this area (Pine Belt) to stay local, pay less, and earn more.  We will work with JCJC to make sure the barriers students sometimes face when they transfer are removed, making it easier for them to complete the degree program they start at JCJC,” said Provost and Executive VP, Dr. Judy Bonner. 
A key component of the agreement includes having an advisor on the JCJC campus ensuring students are on the right path to transferring to MSU-Meridian.  Oak Grove’s Kevin Entrekin will assist students who are majoring in: accounting, business administration, criminology, history, psychology, Bachelor of Applied Technology in healthcare services, Bachelor of Applied Technology in event and hospitality services, elementary education with early childhood and middle school concentrations, kinesiology, social work, secondary education with English and social studies concentrations, and special education.  Armed with course-specific requirements, Entrekin can also advise students who are majoring in programs found on the Starkville campus.
“My job will primarily be to make sure the classes students take here at JCJC transfer into the program at MSU-Meridian so students won’t be wasting time taking unnecessary classes and they can graduate in a reasonable amount of time,” said Entrekin.
Another key feature of the pathways partnership will allow students to be enrolled at JCJC and MSU-Meridian simultaneously.
“The agreement with MSU-Meridian will help those who only need a few classes to complete their baccalaureate degree because students will be able to enroll at both JCJC and MSU-Meridian. It could mean getting a better job in a shorter amount of time, especially for our non-traditional students,” said Dr. Jesse Smith, JCJC President. “We are exceptionally grateful that we now have these pathways for our students which will lead towards a successful future.”
Another added benefit of the pathways partnership includes a financial aid agreement. Dr. Terry Dale Cruse, MSU-Meridian Administrative Director and Head of Campus, explained an agreement with the Federal Financial Aid Consortium and both institutions will allow students to remain eligible for financial aid while enrolled at both schools. 
“Students will be permitted to enroll in courses they need at JCJC and start on courses on our Meridian campus as well. If that combined enrollment equals 12 or more hours, which is required for financial aid, the student can maintain eligibility for federal financial aid at both institutions,” said Dr. Cruse.
JCJC and MSU-Meridian administrators agree that engaging students in the advisement process from the beginning should ensure students stay on track to complete their degree program. Additionally, this arrangement will better enable students to efficiently use their time and resources. 
For more information about the Pathways Partnership with MSU-Meridian click on the link:  To learn about Jones County Junior College and the educational opportunities offered in the Pine Belt visit: 


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