Tippah approves tuition program

RIPLEY – Tippah County supervisors agreed in principle on Friday to participate in the tuition guarantee program that assures tuition payment for students graduating from high school in the county. Sponsoring groups must finalize an agreement defining which students are eligible and other terms of the endowment to fund the program, but students graduating in the spring of 2010 will be the first group to benefit. Kyle Smith of The Peoples Bank of Ripley thanked the board after the vote was taken. He represents one of the businesses that will participate in funding the endowment. Smith also said he and others will meet with new administrations for the cities of Ripley and Walnut to confirm that the cities want to abide by the previous administrations’ agreement to donate $10,000 to the tuition guarantee endowment fund. Last fall the Tippah County board split in a 3-2 vote to reject participating in the program. However, they agree now that the right criteria and terms of participation make the program more feasible. CREATE Foundation launched the tuition guarantee program in 2007, promising $20,000 to each of three community colleges – Itawamba Community College, Northeast and East Mississippi – to be matched by money from a sponsoring financial partner in each college’s district. After September 2007 when the Gilmore Foundation joined the CREATE Foundation to guarantee tuition for Monroe County students, the Pierce Foundation followed in April 2008 in guaranteeing tuition for Corinth High School graduates. Other Northeast Mississippi counties that participate in the program include Calhoun, Clay, Itawamba, Lee, Pontotoc and Union. Contact Lena Mitchell at (662) 287-9822 or lena.mitchell@djournal.com.

Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal