• 61°

Lafayette County’s Community Tuition Assistance Program offers students a way to continue their education

Since 2008, Lafayette County has helped more than 300 high school seniors continue their education through its Community College Tuition Assistance Program, allowing them to go to a community college at little-to-no cost.

The program is sponsored jointly by Lafayette County and Three Rivers Planning and Development.

The deadline for high school seniors to apply for the program who plan on attending Northwest Mississippi Community College is April 1.

Lafayette County joined Three Rivers in 2008, committing to contribute up to $100,000 a year with Three Rivers putting in up to $25,000 per year. Three Rivers works with a total of seven counties in Mississippi.

In Lafayette County, high school seniors can apply for three community colleges — Northwest Mississippi Community College, Northeast Mississippi Community College or Itawamba Community College.

The TAP is currently not offered for those seniors entering a state university.

Students applying must be a U.S. citizen and resident of Lafayette County and expected to graduate with a high school diploma from Oxford or Lafayette County high schools. Students must take the American College Test and complete the free application for Federal Student Aid by July 1.

The student must be enrolled for at least 15 academic hours at one of the participating colleges.

To retain the tuition assistance after the first semester of college, the student must maintain a 2.0-grade point average.

All federal and state grants, scholarships and other benefits are applied first toward the tuition, with the TAP being the last funding source applied.

“My advice is to apply before April 1, even if you aren’t sure you’ll be attending Northwest,” said Lafayette County Administrator Lisa Carwyle. “Some students seem to decide at the last minute, and then it’s too late and the funding is not available.”

Carwyle said an average of 19 Lafayette County students use the TAP at Northwest Community College each semester.

For more information, call Lafayette County Administration at 662-236-2717 or visit Northeast’s, Northwest’s or Itawamba’s financial aid websites.