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New Online Tool to Spike Number of College Degrees

By Annie Gilbertson | Published 06 Sep 2011 06:13pm | comments
Charles Dharapak, The Associated Press

President Obama wants to lead the world in number of college graduates by 2020 and Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning says the state is right on track. Education Reporter, Annie Gilbertson, explains how the Mississippi's college system is recreating an online tool to bolster number of college graduates.

Rise-Up Mississippi, a website built by the Institutions of Higher Learning, or IHL, to attract students back into the classroom, is revamping its articulation component - that’s a fancy way of saying the part of the site that allows students to compare institutions by credit acceptance and majors.

Smith: “It’s hard enough already.  I think not to worry the person or confuse them with all this red-tape, it would be best if it was more straightforward and helpful.”

Nicolas Smith is sitting in a lobby at Hinds Community College with a pad of paper scribbled with a list of 4-year schools and dozens papers he’s planning to fax to each institution. He’s completed his core classes at Hinds, but is unsure what courses will count towards which degrees at each school. From what he faxes out today, each school will mail him material to guide him through the articulation process.

The new online tool hopes to streamline this process. Patricia Sheriff-Taylor, an academic counselor at Jackson State University, says she’d see many more non-traditional students enrolling at her school if only they knew how flexible and accessible the university system has become.

Sheriff-Taylor: "A lot of our non-traditional students, because of obligations with family and jobs, they are asking for more online classes, more weekend classes, classes before the work day really begins."

Dr.  Edward Jordan agrees. He's with the IHL and is overseeing development of the new online tool and says that increased awareness will keep higher education dollars at home.

Jordan: “We are facing competition from the Pheonixs, from the DeVrys, from some of these for-profit institutions that offer an array of online possibilities. And we have those possibilities in the state, but we got to get that information out to the population.”

Still, IHL has yet to announce a live date. 

From the Southern Education Desk, for MPB News, I’m Annie Gilbertson

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Charles Dharapak, The Associated Press


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