Video: MSMS Grads Get More Than $20 Million in Scholarships

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COLUMBUS, Miss — On Saturday, May 24 as the MSMS Class of 2014 dons their caps and gowns and proceeds to graduate, they will certainly have much on their minds. But one thing the vast majority won’t be worried about is how they will pay for college.

That is because the 110 members of this class have been offered more than $20 million in scholarships.

“I feel a combination of pride and shock right now,” said MSMS Admissions Counselor Wade Leonard. “This doesn’t just break records, this smashes them.”

For the past several years, MSMS graduating classes have averaged about $12 million in scholarship offers.

“That’s nothing to sneeze at,” said Leonard. “But $8 million above the school average is truly amazing and this class ought to be hugely proud of itself.”

Even more impressively, the $20 million in scholarship offers does not include MSMS students who received scholarship awards valued at $1 million or more. Columbus native Donely Gunn, for example, is a winner of the Gates Millennial Scholarship, which will pay for his education and expenses throughout his entire academic career at the schools of his choice, including post-graduate studies.

Of the $20 million plus being offered, students have already accepted about $7 million to schools and universities all over the country.

Generally, students overall accept about a third of all scholarships offered.

“If a student is offered money from Mississippi State, Southern Miss, and Ole Miss and chooses to attend MSU, then obviously they can’t accept the money from Ole Miss and Southern,” said Leonard.

In fact, the school expects the scholarship numbers to go up as more students report scholarship offers and awards.

“It’s hard to overstate that these are our preliminary numbers,” said Leonard. “We are still waiting for a handful of students to report the awards they have received.”

While the majority of MSMS students choose to continue their studies in the state of Mississippi, about a third will attend schools all over America, including institutions like Harvard and Princeton.

“We believe strongly in our state schools, and we love it when our graduates choose to remain in Mississippi,” said Leonard. “However, those who go out of state become ambassadors for the state of Mississippi, and our data suggests that the majority of our graduates who go to college outside the state eventually make their ways back home to begin their careers.”

The Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science is the state of Mississippi’s only public, residential high school specifically designed to meet the needs of the state’s most academically talented students. The school, which is located on the campus of the Mississippi University for Women in Columbus, Mississippi, plays host to academically talented students during their final two years of high school. The school has been singled out as one of the best high schools in America. Currently, 234 students representing more than 50 Mississippi counties compose the MSMS student body. Application to MSMS is open to all Mississippi sophomores. For more information about MSMS, please visit

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