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South Alabama to move ahead with Gautier satellite campus

The University of South Alabama today entered into a new partnership with Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College to create a satellite campus in Gautier, a move that both schools say will enable them to more efficiently meet the higher education needs of the Gulf Coast region.

The Board of Trustees for USA met today and, approving a committee recommendation, decided to move forward with the commitment to place a campus in Gautier.

MGCCC is prepared to provide space at its Jackson County Campus in Gautier for USA, which has said it will offer classroom instruction, on-line classes and video conferencing classes.

“Economic times like these require that we avoid provincial approaches and work collaboratively to meet the needs of people and their communities, which often do not end at state lines,” said USA President Gordon Moulton.

University officials said that MGCCC's four campuses are already one of the top schools feeding students to USA's four-year degree programs.

“In considering this new endeavor, USA and MGCCC officials met with representatives from Northrop Grumman, Chevron and Singing River Hospitals -- some of the largest employers in our region. We were persuaded that leaders on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi are very interested in strengthening the relationship with USA. Those industries encourage their employees to attend USA and earn degrees -- and they often provide financial support for them to do so.

The University of Southern Mississippi will hold classes at its satellite campus at MGCCC in Gautier though this spring's semester and will vacate the campus by the end of June.

USA has filed a letter of interest with the Mississippi Commission of College Accreditation for the satellite campus and hopes to have the branch up and running for fall enrollment.

USA will offer three traditional four-year degree completion programs beginning this fall: General Business, Information Systems (from the School of Computer and Information Sciences), and Interdisciplinary Studies, which can be customized to meet the needs of employers in the area. The Gautier campus will also serve as a platform for USA’s on-line degree programs, especially in nursing and education. The campus will also offer coursework to facilitate student transition into the USA College of Engineering. Additional academic programs will be offered as needs are demonstrated.

USA currently enrolls 14,757 students, with 1,533, or about 10 percent, coming from Mississippi, predominantly from the coastal area, where out-of-state tuition is waived.

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