Quality education can also be affordable education

At the age of five, most children embark on their educational journey in hopes to one day obtain a career within a field they enjoy and love.  If you would have told me thirteen years ago that I would be attending a junior college while excelling in and outside of the classroom, I would more than likely think you were joking.  In reality, as a junior and senior in high school, I was devout and determined to attend Mississippi State University to continue my academic career in the field of communications.  

Considering all options

However, after numerous calculations, tuition rates at this senior university over the next four years projected a future of student loans and debt.  As a child in a family of four kids, my main goal when pursuing my degree has always been to graduate with the least amount of debt as possible.  Therefore, though I still continued to ring my cowbell loud and proud, I began looking into other options and scholarships that would help make my degree more accessible. 

One of the opportunities I embarked upon was the Distinguished Young Women’s program for East Jackson County. This scholarship program offers young junior girls the opportunity to earn cash scholarships while competing in the area of scholastics, interview, talent, self-expression, and physical fitness. To my surprise, after weeks of hard work and preparation, I was titled the Distinguished Young Woman of East Jackson County for the class of 2018.  Most importantly, I was awarded $3,100 in cash scholarships, and I also was able to receive $500 at the state program where I finished as a top 10 finalist out of 31 amazing young women. Through this program, I learned that I not only earned cash scholarships, but I also earned waived tuition at my local junior college, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, for holding the local Distinguished Young Woman title.  

Realizing the clear choice

Therefore, after endless hours of stressful worrying over the future cost of my education, I now received half of my education paid for debt-free.  Though putting my cowbell on the shelf for the next two years was difficult, I knew I still had the opportunity to transfer to Mississippi State University with a lot less debt.  My choice became a no-brainer.  While all my friends began packing their rooms and hauling off to their respected universities, I remained at home and prepared to attend Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.  

Going the extra mile

As I began in the fall of 2018 I soon learned that my community college not only cared about my course work, but they also cared about me as a person.  From speaking to me in the hallway to offering extra tutoring during their office hours, the professors, staff, and faculty always go the extra mile to make sure my affordable education is not only quantitative but also qualitative.  While attending my local community college, I have also had the opportunity to stay involved thus resulting in incredible transfer scholarship options.  Throughout my past two years at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, I have remained active in Phi Theta Kappa, Student Government Association, and I have even served as the only student on the Quality Enhancement Plan committee for the college. 

I am thankful for my community college and involvement that have provided me with an affordable, quality education and making scholarships such as the Pearson Scholarship available to me.  Therefore, to high school seniors – remember, quality education can also be affordable education. Know that you shouldn’t be ashamed of going to community colleges, applying for a lot of scholarships or anything that helps you reach your goal with your best foot forward.

Pearson Students: Did you go to community college? How did you make college affordable? Share by commenting below!


Morgan Rich is a sophomore at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College where she will graduate in May 2020 with her Associates of Arts. She plans to transfer to Mississippi State University to earn a bachelor’s degree in communications with a concentration on public relations. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading, exercising, and remaining active in her community. At MGCCC, Morgan serves as Student Government Association Executive President and Phi Theta Kappa Communications and Public Relations Director. She earned the Pearson Scholarship for Higher Education in 2019.

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1 Comment

  1. Yeates.Bunny 4 months ago

    Don’t ask what others have done for you, but ask what you have done for others

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