Meridian Community College was founded as a junior college in 1937, an off-shoot of the local high school established to absorb high school graduates of the area. The current college is located in downtown Meridian and from its humble beginnings has expanded to a 72-acre campus with a student population of about 4,000.
The range of academic programs is huge and diverse. While a substantial proportion of students joining the college seek two-year degrees, there are also many vocational courses provided and some run for periods as short as eight weeks. In total, there are 42 different career and technical education programs.
Under what the college calls business programs is a broad range of academic and technical programs covering such diverse areas as business marketing, hotel management, computer programming, cosmetology, early childhood education, graphic design and broadcast communication technology.
The broadcast technology program is aimed at students seeking careers in the broadcast media industry and covers areas such as production for both radio and TV as well as writing, editing, reporting, announcing and directing – in a nutshell, the program prepares student to become media professionals. Students enrolled in this program obtain hands-on experience by producing both radio and TV programs on the campus and horn their reporting, writing and broadcasting skills by covering sports and other events at the college.
The college’s Health Education programs are many and cover areas such as dental hygiene technology, medical laboratory technology, health information technology, radiological technology and surgical technology among others. Students seeking industrial careers can also enroll in one of several programs offered by the college’s industrial technology department. This department offers courses in areas such as commercial truck driving, automotive technology, industrial maintenance and machine tool technology.
The college’s nursing program offers training in practical nursing and an associate degree in nursing.
Accreditation is granted by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The college’s nursing programs are also accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission.
Most Popular Fields of Study
Admissions are open. Applicants must submit high school graduation certificates or GEDs. In addition, the applicant must present a copy of their American College Test (ACT) scores. Where ACT scores are not available, MCC offers the applicant the opportunity to take the ACCUPLACER test at the college.
Students attending high school may enroll in classes using the college’s General Academic Dual Credit/Enrollment program. To benefit from this program, the applicant must have completed at least 14 core high school units and maintained a grade point average of 3.0 or higher on all courses taken. In addition, the applicant must receive an unconditional recommendation from his or her high school principal or counselor.
For transfer students, the college requires high school transcripts, standardized scores and transcripts from all other subsequent institutions attended. A transfer applicant is required to have earned a C grade average during their last semester at their previous institution. Applicants with scores lower than this could also be admitted on academic probation. Students on probation must take a minimum of six semester hours and earn a grade point average of 2.0 or higher.
International students are required to provide evidence of high school completion and also evidence of their proficiency in English. The applicant can prove proficiency by a composite ACT score of 18 or a score of 500 or higher in the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Such applicants are also required to show evidence of their ability to pay through college by presenting certified financial affidavits. Moreover, international applicants are required to have health insurance.
The college has many scholarships which insures that academically gifted but financially challenged students get the help they need to meet their college expenses. In total, the college offers close to $500,000 in scholarships every year.
One of the biggest providers of scholarship money is the MCC Foundation. Beneficiaries are graduates of high schools in Meridian or Lauderdale counties. Home-schooled students from Lauderdale County also qualify. For such applicants, the foundation underwrites their tuition expenses for four semesters. To qualify, the applicant is required to complete 12 hours each semester and to maintain a minimum grade point average of 2.0.
The President’s Scholarship is offered to full-time freshmen who are residents of Mississippi and covers full tuition expenses. To qualify, the applicant must have a minimum score of 25 on the ACT and, to continue benefiting, must remain a full-time student with a minimum grade point average of 2.5.
The Dean’s Scholarship covers 50% of the tuition expenses and is awarded to applicants who are residents of Mississippi, are full-time students and have ACT scores of 20-24. Those awarded are required to maintain a GPA of 2.0 or higher. There are also a host of other scholarships offering varying amounts. These include the Eagle Scholarship, the Fine Arts Scholarship and the Athletic Scholarship.
Students also benefit from various part-time jobs available on the campus and other locations. The college pays such students the federal minimum hourly wage and offers them work in locations such as the residence halls, the library, the records office and as assistants to instructors. To qualify for these part-time jobs, the student must submit a College Work-Study Application and demonstrate financial need.
Federal grants can also be used to finance expenses. One such grant is the Federal Pell Grant which awards varying amounts to needy students who complete an application with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Pell grant winners whose financial needs are considered exceptional by FAFSA could also qualify for the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG). Students who are residents of Mississippi could also apply for the Leveraging Educational Assistance Program (LEAP) grants. This program is funded by the federal government and the State of Mississippi.
In addition to grants, federal authorities run several loan programs. Under the Federal Direct Student Loan Program, the government offers subsidized loans, unsubsidized loans and PLUS loans.
The athletic department, known as the Eagles, compete in the NJCAA. They fields teams in basketball, soccer, football, baseball, golf, softball, tennis and cheerleading. Over the years the Eagles have won many honors, including five NJCAA national championships, and produced athletes who went on to excel at the national level.
Alumni who have excelled at their different sports include Ronald Murray (basketball) who went on to play for the Atlanta Hawks and Jamario Moon of the Miami Heat. Winners have also been produced by the soccer team such as Damani Ralph who was a star in Major League Soccer.
Additional School Information
The college only offers accommodation in its three residential halls to single students and does not provide facilities for families or couples. The residential rooms are disability friendly and each room has a phone jack and cable TV jack. Cable is provided free of charge but residents have to foot their telephone and internet bills.
The college maintains its own police department. The department is staffed by ten full-time police officers and a number of security and housing officers. Since only a small number of students are housed on campus, with the greater majority living off-campus, the Campus Police Department shares intelligence with and collaborates with the Meridian Police Department and the Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office.
The police department, in addition to providing security and effecting means to reduce the possibility of crime and violence at the campus, also provides safety tips to students. Tips cover areas such as self-defense and drug and alcohol awareness among others. Students are advised to contact the police when in need.
Elisabeth Bailey is a freelance writer and editor with particular interests in academics, food,and sustainability . She is also the author of A Taste of the Maritimes: Local, Seasonal Recipes the Whole Year Round and writes regularly for Canadian Farmers’ Almanac and the National Wildlife Federation. Elisabeth and her family live and enjoy great local food in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.