Improving college graduation rates in Mississippi - - Jackson, MS

Improving college graduation rates in Mississippi

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JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Mississippi policy makers are working to overhaul the graduation rates in Mississippi by the year 2025.

The Graduation Rate Task Force has been working over the past year to devise a plan to get more Mississippians to graduate from college.

In the task force's final meeting of 2009 before they work towards their 2025 goal, Commissioner of Higher Education, Dr. Hank Bounds said, " We're now going to set goals -- five, ten, fifteen year goals to where we are now, from one of the least educated citizenry's to among the best states in the country."

For Mississippi to reach this goal, they are estimating nearly 150,000 bachelor's and associate degrees need to be earned in the next fifteen years. This averages to about 960 degrees every year.

They're estimating if this can happen, Mississippi will no longer be ranked 45th in the nation in high school graduation rates.

"Preparing students for college really starts at birth. Parents reading to their children at a young age. Parents making education very important," Dr. Bounds said.

They plan to reach this goal by working with students from grades K-12 where they hope to advocate for better teacher preparation at this level as well as the post graduate level.

In addition, they're also working to get better financial incentive for colleges, so they can retain student's once they start.

Chairman of the Graduation Task Force Commission, Senator Doug Davis (R) of District 1 said, "There's a funding aspect to education and there's also a policy aspect. And we just want to make sure that the policies are there to give the universities what they need to increase their graduation rate."

"We're first where we don't need to be first, we're last where we don't need to be last and all those indicators have to do with education," Dr. Bounds said.

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