Itawamba Community College has a history dating back to the earlier part of the 20th century when it was established as the humble extension of Itawamba County Agricultural High School. While plans were there from the very beginning to make this a full-fledged community college, the community’s efforts were hampered by several factors but mostly by the outbreak of the Second World War. Expansion plans were shelved until the end of the war and the college only opened its doors to the first group of students in 1948 as Itawamba Junior School.
Today, ICC has changed so much that it is hardly recognizable from what it was originally. It has three campuses – Fulton, Belden and Tupelo. The Tupelo campus was established in 1963 and by then studies were conducted in premises purchased from businesses in the city. It was to expand later with the acquisition of a complex exceeding 65,000 square feet and today the campus has 14 buildings. The college changed its name to Itawamba Community College in 1987.
ICC is a multi-racial institution serving more than 8,400 undergraduate students, the majority of whom are women.
This is a two-year public college that offers courses leading to the award of certificates or associate degrees. The range of study programs is huge and covers everything from accounting, agriculture and computer engineering to sociology, social work and welding. A wide variety of Associate of Arts and Science degrees are available enabling graduates of this college to transfer to four-year colleges.
A student enrolled for the Business and Office Related Technology course will be awarded an Associate of Applied Science degree. The course covers subjects like business accounting, business communication, word processing, database management and desktop publishing among others.
The college’s Health Information Technology program also leads to an Associate of Applied Science degree in health information technology and is aimed at individuals who wish to acquire qualification as Registered Health Information Technicians (RHIT). The course curriculum involves studies in health care law and ethics, use of computers in health care, medical terminology, pharmacology, coding systems and health care supervision among others. This is one of the most competitive courses at the college with the number of annual applicants exceeding the number of places available.
In summary, the number of programs available is really comprehensive making it possible for most students to find a course worth studying for. Class sizes vary between 20 and 30 and the student-faculty ratio is 31:1.
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Students who are holders of a high school diploma or those who present an acceptable GED or college transcript are admitted. Where the applicant is transferring from another college, the college requires transcripts from all accredited colleges previously attended. Transfer students who have been dismissed from their previous colleges are generally not admitted. When the applicant is 23 years old or younger, the school requires that the results of an ACT Assessment be presented.
Students from Mississippi who fail to obtain the required number of units for a high school diploma can still get admitted by completing the necessary Carnegie units. Students who graduate from schools without accreditation are required to complete their GED and to forward their transcripts to the Director of Admissions.
When the school has adequate space to accommodate more regular students than those already taking classes, it admits senior citizens aged 65 and over without charging them tuition fees. This favor is also extended to retirees of the Mississippi Public Employee Retirement System but the senior citizens are required to meet the expenses for materials and books.
Returning students who have been away from the institution for a period exceeding one semester are required to apply for readmission by sending an undated application and transcripts obtained from other schools attended.
Under the college’s dual enrollment program, continuing high school students could apply for admission to the college. To be considered for admission, such students must obtain a written recommendation from their high school head and must prove their academic prowess by presenting transcripts showing a minimum grade point average of 3.0 or higher. In addition, such applicants are required to have completed 14 or more high school core units. Students who have not completed the required number of core units could still be considered for admission when they have a minimum ACT composite score of 24.
Additionally, foreign students are required to pass the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a minimum score of 500 and to show their ability to pay for college by presenting translated financial statements from their sponsors. Such students are also required to show proof of medical insurance and to provide evidence of vaccination for hepatitis as well as documentation showing they are free from tuberculosis.
Students who excel in their studies and other extra-curricular activities benefit greatly from a wide variety of scholarship programs available. The college offers a scholarship of over $8,000 to students with ACT scores of over 30 and another scholarship worth $3,300 to those with an ACT score of 24-29. For those students who do not qualify for the ACT scholarship but have achieved a grade point average of 3.5 or higher by the mid-term of their final high school year, the college offers the Academic Scholarship which is valued at over $6,000.
Entering freshmen who have held leadership positions in high school and have a composite score of 15 could apply for the Leadership Scholarship which is valued at $400. Winners who wish to continue benefiting from these scholarships are required to maintain a minimum GPA of 2.75 and to complete at least 12 semester hours.
The college also awards the Special Achievement Scholarship to incoming freshmen who have won in a state or national competition. There are also a host of scholarships for students with special skills such as dancing, playing various musical instruments and singing.
Winners and runners-up of the Miss Mississippi Pageant get to benefit from the Miss Mississippi Scholarship offered by ICC. The winner of the pageant gets a $2,500 fee waiver from the college while the top-ten finalists get a waiver of $1,000 each.
For all scholarships, applications have to be received by the first day of the Fall Semester.
In addition to these institutional scholarships, students have access to more than twenty scholarships provided by private donors. These include the Anson Aven Memorial Scholarship, the Honorable Sharion R. Aycock Endowed Scholarship, the Board of Trustees Scholarship, the Dr. Thomas and Martha Bourland Burch Endowed Scholarship and the Dexter Digby Scholarship.
In addition to these scholarships, students at ICC have access to the various grants and loan financial aid from the federal government.
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Students here have a wide range of athletic activities to participate in. These include baseball, football, basketball, golf, soccer, softball and tennis.
The college has several state-of-the-art facilities such as the Crubaugh Field which is used by the college’s baseball team. Fitted with an infield surface of crimson stone and a playing surface of natural turf, the field has a seating capacity of 1,000 and a complete irrigation and draining system.
The college’s basketball teams play in the Davis Event Center which at the time of its construction in 2007 cost over $15 million. It seats 3,500 fans and is connected to a fitness center which has cardiovascular rooms and offers training in weight lifting and aerobics.
Other facilities include the softball complex which has a seating capacity of 100, the Lambert Football Stadium and the Soccer Stadium. The athletic teams are known as the Indians and are members of the NJCAA.
A vibrant alumni association that has been in existence since 1996 is available for graduates. Through the association, the college raises funds for various projects but most specifically to assist needy students joining the college. Membership is open to all former students, staff and their friends. Members are required to contribute $10 per person per annum or to purchase a lifetime membership of $100.
The college is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Justine Ventimiglia graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Michigan – Dearborn. Currently residing in a 1950’s modest ranch in Metro Detroit, she enjoys researching and writing about Mid Century Modern furniture and decor as she works on restoring her home and documenting the process.