Competitive Advantage

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Competitive Advantage

Delivering Tips, Insights and Resources for Success

Get monthly updates of the latest articles

Crush your college goals with the new C2C Grant


The fireworks have faded, the new year is finally here, and you’re ready to dive into your resolutions… or not. Are you feeling motivated or discouraged? Either way, we’re here to tell you that this is YOUR YEAR to make progress on your college degree.

Even if you shelved your college plans awhile back, Mississippi has a special program that can help you get back on track. It’s called Complete 2 Compete (C2C) and it’s available to thousands of Mississippians who want to go back and make progress toward a degree.

Even better: the C2C Grant is back this year with even more improvements! We listened to feedback from students and grads and updated the program. Now it’s even easier for YOU to get the help that you need to reach your college goals.

The C2C Program just got easier

Complete 2 Compete has helped MS students get thousands of dollars towards their college expenses.

Here are some recent C2C Grant updates:

  1. C2C Grant applications are now completely online. It’s easier than ever to see how much help you can get toward college costs. You can complete the application online or on your smartphone, and it’s a paperless process.
  2. You’ll find out even sooner about the help you’ll get!
  3. You can now also use C2C Grants towards qualifying student debts you may have.
  4. New funding sources make it possible for more MS adults to return to college and complete their degrees.

 We listened to students and grads to make the program even easier to start. Getting back to school sooner = reaching your goals (like landing a higher-paying job) sooner.

The C2C Grant helps you access thousands of dollars for college

Let’s talk about the wooly mammoth in the room: college costs. Nobody gets excited about having another bill to pay. Let’s be real: life is already too expensive.

However, the truth is that paying for college now means you’ll have more money throughout the rest of your life.

Here are a few financial facts:

  1. People with bachelor’s degrees earn over $2 million dollars over their careers vs. $1.2 million on average for people with just a high school diploma (Source: US Census)
  2. Put another way, people with bachelor’s degrees earn hundreds of dollars more per week than those with just a high school diploma or those who have not finished their degrees (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Even with this knowledge, how can you make college fit into your budget now? The C2C Grant is one option that can make college more affordable. Every semester (2 or 3 times a year) you may be able to qualify for $1,000 toward your higher ed costs.

If you get a C2C grant, you can use it to pay for these expenses… and more!

  1. Classes
  2. Textbooks
  3. Qualifying college debt

 Additionally, your C2C Coach can help you find other federal, state, and institutional funding available to you to help with college costs.

 How does it work?

To get the C2C Grant, follow these 4 simple steps:

  1. Apply and be accepted in the C2C Program. Start here
  2. Go through a simple orientation and be assigned a coach. Talk with your C2C Coach about your goals and circumstances and they will send you a link to the C2C Grant application.
  3. Complete the application on your phone or computer. You can even upload needed paperwork on your phone or take pictures of documents to submit.
  4. Submit the Federal Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) & MS Aid Applications (MAAPP) so you can receive all aid money that you are qualified for.

If this sounds complicated, don’t worry… your C2C Coach will help you with each step. They’ll also help you apply for the grant again each semester that you’re enrolled.

The C2C Grant can be applied to any associate or bachelor’s degree programs at one of the 24 MS institutions. Aiming for a degree in marine biology, online marketing, early childhood development, African American art history, or any other? You’re on your way!

Still not sure if you qualify for the C2C Grant? It’s easy to find out. You can complete a quick online survey to get connected to a C2C coach who will guide you through each step of the process. Start here!

The C2C Grant may be just what YOU need

There are lots of reasons that students leave college without finishing their degree… weird food courts, hard classroom seats, not enough parking…

Financial hardship is a leading reason though… you’re not really going to stop going to school just because the food court burned your pizza!

According to a Higher Ed Dive survey, students who left college before finishing gave these reasons:

  1. 42% cited financial reasons
  2. 32% pointed to family or personal commitments
  3. 30% said the college wasn’t the right fit for them at the time

We also listened to many Mississippi adults who left college before finishing. Here’s what some of them said:

“…it was challenges of being pregnant, having children, having a husband, having a career and just being spread way too thin.”

“It was time to figure out what I was going to major in, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do, so I stopped because I didn’t want to waste time or money.”

The C2C Grant exists to help you overcome financial barriers that are holding you back.

Impacting lives

Here are a few stats to show the impact of the C2C program.

To date, the C2C program has had these successes for MS adults:

  1. Over $323,000 in past college debts paid off
  2. Over $3.4 million in tuition payments
  3. Over 5,000 enrolled students
  4. Over 2,440 new graduates!

 It’s your turn!

Thousands of C2C students qualify for the grant! There are just a few qualifications so that we make sure that deserving students access the grants:

  1. Age: Students need to be between 21-59 years old
  2. MS residency: Students must be a resident of Mississippi
  3. Income qualification: We want to help those most in need with funds, but thousands of people do qualify for the grant so be sure to check to see if there is help for you.
  4. Pursuing first degree: Students need to be working towards their first college degree

There are some other factors that could help you get the grant:

  1. Parental status (parent of a dependent child)
  2. Race/ethnicity

More than money…

College often feels expensive, but it’s also complicated! Does it seem like there are 729 steps to go through in order to get back to college?

The C2C program does provide grants to help with college expenses, but there’s more! You’ll also be assigned to a C2C “Coach” to help you through each step of the process. That’s why you don’t have to understand all the details about the grant… you just need to connect with a C2C Coach.

All day every day, our C2C Coaches help people with their degree details. It’s not complicated to them. They can even help you get other federal grants or state/institutional funding so your college costs may be even lower.

Many colleges even offer other resources like childcare, online class options, and tutoring and your coach can help you access this help.

College works best when you can focus on school instead of on the logistics.  Your C2C Coach will make this possible for you. Connect with a coach today by completing this quick survey.

Each one of these people would say “If I could do it, you can do it.”

Here are a few recent success stories from C2C grads! Just like you, they were overwhelmed by the expense of college and didn’t know how they would work it out logistically. But they did it and so can you with the help of the C2C program!

“I am completely satisfied with C2C program.  It has changed my life. I absolutely could not afford to return to school.  I really enjoy the extra reinforcement with the on-staff coach at my school.” – Current C2C Participant

 “Step out on faith,” says LaShawnda, a mom of 2, “I know there are lots of other people like me who are sitting on all those credit hours, but still don’t have a degree. And I hope my story helps someone in a similar situation. Don’t let anything stop you. You can do this. Look into C2C. It’s so worth it.” Read more about LaShawnda here.

What’s next for you?

Hey, we all know that New Year’s Resolutions don’t usually last much past MLK Day. That’s where life hacks come in handy: what SMALL actions can you take NOW that will have BIG impact in your life later?

Remember that Higher Ed Dive survey above that showed why people leave college… money, family, etc? Well, that same survey also found that the longer someone stayed out of college the less likely they were to return. So this is your sign: the sooner you take a step back to college the better!

There’s just ONE thing you need to do now to start your college success path: Go through the C2C survey. It’s quick and easy and you can do it completely from your smart phone or on any computer. Hey, you can probably do it while you wait in the grocery pickup line! Visit and click any of the “Start Now” buttons.

This survey will determine what kind of help the C2C program has for you, and you’ll get in touch with a coach to help you with each step.

It’s your year to slay your college dragons.

The improved C2C Grant is just ONE of the benefits that returning students can access to make going back to college easier. Complete 2 Compete is committed to busting down the obstacles that are holding MS adults back from their degree goals.

Be the next success story… take the first step today!


C2C is a state program that helps Mississippi adults who previously attended college earn a degree and create a brighter future.