POPLARVILLE - Pearl River Community College ranks among the country’s top 20 in providing students a solid academic foundation on which to build continued education, CNN Money recently reported.
The report shows 68 percent of PRCC students transfer to a four-year college or university. PRCC is tied at number 17 with Rend Lake College in Illinois and Ellsworth Community College in Iowa.
“The focus for all of our efforts at Pearl River Community College is to ensure the success of our students,” said Dr. William Lewis, president. “There are many indicators that suggest we are succeeding in this pursuit. One of the foundational building blocks of our institutional philosophy is to focus on the success of every student.”
The CNN ranking is the latest in a series of accolades for PRCC:
• The college is again in the running for the $1 million Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. PRCC officials took part in a telephone interview with judges earlier this month, a step that indicates the college is being considered for the finalist list to be selected in the fall.
• Create A Career website ranks PRCC as the 23 best community college nationally.
• The BestSchools.org website lists PRCC as 28th best in the country.
• PRCC also is consistently on the Military Friendly list of colleges.
Dr. Martha Lou Smith, vice president for general education and technology services, credits faculty with much of the success achieved by PRCC students.
“The key to student success is dedicated, qualified instructors,” she said. “Pearl River Community College has made a commitment to provide opportunities for success to all students in both the academic and career/technical arenas by working to meet the needs of students where they are. Instructors create an environment in which students feel confident in their ability to succeed.”
The college provides multiple tutoring options for students who need extra instruction through Student Success Centers, Student Support Services, supplemental instruction and peer tutoring.
Trevor Creighton of Hattiesburg first came to PRCC as a GED student because he completed high school in his native Ireland. An initial struggle with algebra could have derailed his academic career but help and encouragement from the instructor kept him in school.
“The faculty interaction makes the difference,” he said. “It’s not just in the classroom but in their whole lives.”
Creighton graduated in May with highest honors and a prestigious scholarship that will pay up to $30,000 a year for three years as he continues his education at Columbia University in New York.
“I am a product of PRCC and the foundation I have received here is integral to any academic success that I might realize,” Creighton said.
Of the 4,025 students enrolled at PRCC for the spring 2014 semester, 254 joined Creighton on the President’s List with 4.0 grade point averages; another 456 were on the Dean’s List with a GPA of 3.4 or higher.
The CNN Money report shows PRCC with the highest transfer rate of any of Mississippi’s 15 community colleges. Closest on the list are Holmes at 56 percent, Northeast Mississippi at 55 percent and Itawamba and Southwest Mississippi at 54 percent.
The report is based on information compiled by College Measures, a joint venture of the American Institutes of Research and Matrix Knowledge Group.