New degree programs available at Alcorn

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 25, 2010

NATCHEZ — A new Alcorn State University degree program in Natchez will allow elementary teachers to dust off their backpacks and follow someone else’s rules for a change.

Alcorn recently added elementary education bachelor’s and master’s degree programs at its Natchez campus, and it is not too late to sign up for the fall, Alcorn Associate Vice President for Branch and Extension Campuses Ruth Nichols said.

Nichols said the programs should provide the local community with a stronger pool of teachers.

In the past, students could take elementary education classes at the Natchez campus, but they could not complete degrees in town.

The bachelor’s program is designed for students who have completed two years of college or earned an associates degree, Nichols said.

The master’s program is designed for licensed teachers looking to advance their degree. Nichols Night classes will accommodate teaching schedules.

Nichols said the addition of the graduate program is a response to local school systems, teachers and community members indicating a demand for alternative methods of schooling for working teachers.

“One real advantage is (graduate) students can bond as a group and support each other, and it makes going back to school (as adults) less stressful,” Nichols said.

The addition of a master’s degree raises teacher salaries and qualifies them for better jobs, and overall quality of instruction in local schools will go up, Nichols said.

“It’s a continuous improvement for the school system,” Nichols said.

Nichols said graduate students can complete the program in one year.

Nichols said the bachelor’s degree program is an ideal opportunity to Co-Lin students to complete their degree.

“Those students don’t have to go away. They can transfer right across the street,” Nichols said.

As part of the Miss-Lou regionalism effort, Nichols said Alcorn is offering 100 tuition grants for out-of-state students, which were set up for Louisiana folks across the bridge in mind.

Out-of-state students must first apply for financial aid can then apply for a grant, which would allow them to pay in-state tuition.

Class registration is open Aug. 19 to 29 for the fall, and prospective students should apply to the university as soon as possible.

Those interested can apply online at www.alcorn.edu or call 601-304-4335 for information about the program or to apply by mail.

Alcorn State University’s Natchez campus also offers degree programs in nursing and business.