Community Colleges Thriving

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Officials in Mississippi say they believe two-year colleges will soon overtake the universities in enrollment.

Community college officials say more students are finding they can get an equal education at two-year colleges, like Meridian Community College, and not have to pay nearly the price they would at a university.

That's especially true for Lauderdale County students at MCC who pay no tuition as long as they keep a certain grade point average.

"If you can stay at home and pay nothing, if you get a grant or scholarship or the tuition guarantee, who wouldn't take us up on that?" asked MCC's Dianne Walton.

Enrollment at the state's two year colleges has grown more than twice as fast as it has at four-year colleges over the last five years.

And cost is one of the major reasons why. Take a look at the difference in tuition at the state's major universities compared to that at local community colleges.

In-state tuition at Mississippi State, Ole Miss, and Southern Miss all run more than $4,000 per year. But you can see, it's right around $1,500 per year at MCC, East Central Community College in Decatur and East Mississippi Community College in Scooba.