Rise Up!

Mississippi search engine Rise Up! helps potential and current students easily find information on in-state colleges and universities (Photo courtesy of bamassippi on flickr.com).

Mississippi search engine Rise Up! helps potential and current students easily find information on in-state colleges and universities (Photo courtesy of bamassippi on flickr.com).

Mississippi community colleges have some of the lowest tuition in the United States. Holmes Community College, for instance, is located in Goodman, Mississippi and charges only $925 tuition per semester to full-time in-state students (12 credits or more in a single term); that averages out to only $77.08 per credit hour, a rate almost unheard of now-a-days. In addition to low tuition, Holmes Community College allows students to live on campus even if they are registered in the eLearning program. Just imagine, having the option to live on campus and get the “full college experience” but your classes are available to you 24/7!

With that being said, Mississippi also introduced Rise Up! A statewide college access website and initiate of the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning. The site provides easy-access for students and potential students to a college search tool, scholarship finder, and degree finder tools.

College Search

Rise Up’s College Search Tool allows students to narrow down colleges based on institution type, degrees offered and campus location, among others. Additional options are available regarding tuition and scholarships, and access to institutional profiles is available by selecting a school that populates in the results window.

Best Feature: Option to narrow down schools based on tuition

College Compare Tool

Probably one of the best college search tools I’ve seen in a while, Rise Up’s comparison table allows users to select up to three Mississippi colleges to compare. Nine pre-determined categories auto-populate and provide information ranging from Institution Type and Setting to Student/Faculty Ratio and Tuition. In addition, three bonus boxes allow users to customize the comparison based on their needs and interests. Users can select options such as Housing Availability, ROTC programs, religious affiliation and entrance difficulty, among others. A View Profile feature also allows users to immediately access the full institutional profile of a school from the Comparison Table; very easy to use and navigate!

Best Feature: Easy to read table layout to quickly compare up to three schools

Scholarship Finder

Despite the low-cost of Mississippi state school’s tuition, a scholarship finder tool is available via Rise Up! Student can search by a variety of categories or by entering keywords to customize their results. Some categories that have been pre-developed include:

  • State of Residence
  • Gender
  • Applicant Type
  • Citizenship
  • Marital Status
  • Year of Birth
  • National Heritage
  • Ethnicity
  • Disability Type
  • Talents

Academic Information and Affiliations also provide students with the opportunity to seek scholarships that reward academic success and community service. Additional pre-populated boxes are available in these categories as well, which eases the process in searching for scholarships as students may not necessarily know what to search for or what is available to them.

Best Feature: Option to select by talent

Degree Finder

Students do not always know what they want to study upon entering college, but in the event that a particular degree program is desired, Rise Up! has provided free access to a degree program search tool free of school advertisements. Once a program of study and major are selected, the degree tool provides a list of schools located in Mississippi that offer the selected major. For example, when selecting ‘English Literature’ as the Program of Study and ‘English Literature, General’ as the major, twenty-one schools come up in the results window. In addition to the school results, which are strictly limited to in-state public and private institutions, students are given a definition of the selected major to confirm it meets their interest. Definitions can also clarify describe majors students may be unfamiliar with.

Best Feature: Definitions of each major

Ashley Benson is a distance education professional with five years of experience in the for-profit sector. She has worked coast-to-coast within the United States as an academic advisor, an adjunct teaching assistant and, most recently, a campus Registrar. Through formal education and industry experience, Ashley practices staying informed on the current events and changes within higher education and the students involved.

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