January 18, 2022

Complete 2 Compete program helps Brandon mom achieve goal

“I came back to school to set an example to my son that it’s never too late to complete something that you start.”
BY: Cathy Hayden
Photography by Brad Smith

For Paula Ruth Ramos of Brandon, finally continuing her higher education journey fulfills a promise she made to herself to be a good example for her son Dallas and husband Ray.

Thanks to help from Hinds Community College’s Complete to Compete program she was able to finish her degree in December and begin the next step in her journey for a business degree at the University of Southern Mississippi.

“Life took over and I didn’t finish college in the early ‘90s,” she said. “I came back to school to set an example that it’s never too late to complete something that you start.”

Like a lot of adults in the working world these days, she found she needed a college degree in order to advance in her career.

“The company I’m with likes business degrees in order to move into management. I travel up to 40 weeks a year, so in order to stop doing that, I need to move into management,” she said. “I had gone as far as I could without a degree.”

Ramos returned to college last year at Hinds Community College and in December earned an Associate in Applied Science in business, as well as Career and Technical certificates. Both her husband and son were there to see her take the traditional walk across stage when her name was announced.

She made that step in her ongoing journey with help from the Complete 2 Compete program, which makes earning a degree a reality for more than former students in need of just a little more coursework to complete an associate or bachelor’s degree, mainly by making vital information and resources available.

Coordinators of the program at Hinds made sure her transition back to college coursework, which in her case was done online, was a seamless one academically and financially.

“The Complete 2 Compete program works with students who have previously attended college, but did not complete their degree,” said LaCheryl Taylor, Associate Registrar at Hinds. “If awarded the grant, it provides the students with $1,000 toward their college tuition and fees each semester until they complete their Associates degree. This $1,000 is especially beneficial to those who haven’t been able to return to school because they were not eligible for financial aid or because they were not able to pay a past due bill to the college.”

Getting back in the swing of college took a little time for Ramos, but Hinds instructors helped ease the transition.

“It was a learning experience,” she said. “The first time I went to college, nothing was online. We hand-wrote papers. When I came back, there were nights I wanted to quit. But Hinds has been an awesome experience. It was the perfect place. All of my instructors were great. I would highly recommend this school to anybody.”