• Quality education can also be affordable education

    by Morgan Rich

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    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.  

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