Alcorn, Mississippi National Guard begins collaboration to form Braves Free Tuition Program

Alcorn State University and the Mississippi National Guard are partnering on an initiative that would grant eligible Mississippi Army and Air National Guard members with free tuition.

The University and the Mississippi National Guard signed a Memorandum of Understanding Wednesday, July 1, to officially begin their collaboration to officially began the Braves Free Tuition Program. The program aims to provide a unique benefit to the service members, resulting in an increase in National Guard ascensions, higher retention rates across the force, and increasing the National Guard student population on campus.

The Guards' mission is to provide protection of life and property and uphold the preservation of peace, order, and public safety for citizens in Mississippi under the governor's leadership and control.

Alcorn President Felecia M. Nave expressed her pride in this country’s current and aspiring troops. She’s excited about the opportunity to assist their progress by providing free tuition.

“When I think of the brave soldiers that suit up to defend our nation, it gives me great joy to know that we have men and women willing to protect us at all costs,” said Nave. “Their bravery is unmatched, and we at Alcorn appreciate all that they do for the United States of America. Their commitment to service is what inspired Alcorn State University’s latest collaboration with the Mississippi National Guard to form the Braves Free Tuition Program.”

Mississippi’s talented young generation inspired the partnership. Nave spoke on the importance of implementing programs that would foster the state’s best students' abilities.

“Mississippi has some of the country’s most talented individuals capable of producing groundbreaking change with their knowledge and skills. We want to make sure that opportunities exist for our young people in the state so that we can not only mold them but also encourage them to give back to their state with their expertise. Things are changing in Mississippi, and we want our young talented adults to be a part of that change by pushing the state into the future.

Maj. Gen. Janson D. Boyles, the Mississippi's adjutant general at the Mississippi Military Department in Jackson, looks forward to helping Alcorn become a bigger presence in recruiting students interested in taking advantage of the program.

“These men and women are remarkable, so anything that we can do for them is an effort we need to foresee,” said Boyal. “It’s incumbent upon us to provide anyone a pathway to success.

Alcorn can now compete on an even playing field to recruit students from across other states in our region. We look forward to building your population. Alcorn is a great place to have this program.”

Cadets from Alcorn’s Army ROTC program were in attendance to witness the free tuition program signing. Cleveland Allison Jr, a junior chemistry major from Hermanville, Mississippi, believes the program funds will aid students as they try to progress through school without financial barriers.

“This program will be beneficial to students because it will eliminate financial stress and allow students to focus solely on school,” said Allison. “Also, it would allow students to save money and use it on other academic necessities.”

Travian Tanner, a freshman accounting major from Hazelhurst, Mississippi, said that the initiative would promote critical professional development for its recipients.

“This is an opportunity for students to receive a quality education while developing important leadership skills that the military requires,” said Tanner. “I believe this initiative will provide resources to students that would prepare them for their future careers.”