Education Services Foundation, a nonprofit working to help Mississippi students plan and pay for college, has announced that it is changing its name to the Woodward Hines Education Foundation (WHEF).
The new name honors the vision and legacy of Jack Woodward and J. Herman Hines, both Mississippians instrumental in originally forming the foundation as a catalyst for improving access to postsecondary education for residents across the state.
“With this name change, we convey the tremendous contribution these two great men have made in improving college access and success in our state,” said David Martin, chair of the WHEF board of directors. “We are proud to continue the extremely critical work Jack Woodward and Herman Hines started nearly four decades ago.”
The foundation’s flagship program, Get2College, has centers in Jackson, Ocean Springs, and Southaven that reach more than 45,000 Mississippi students annually, providing individual counseling on college admission and financial aid.
“Our data shows the work we are doing around higher education access makes a difference for students in communities across the state,” said Jim McHale, president and CEO of WHEF. “However, we also know the higher education graduation rate for Mississippi students lags behind the national rate, which is why we want to continue to make smart investments in promising practices that not only increase access, but also support persistence and completion.”
In 2016, only 23 percent of Mississippians graduate from two-year colleges within three years, and only half graduate from four-year colleges within six years. According to the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce, 65 percent of all jobs will require postsecondary education and training by 2020, which underscores the need to increase the number of Mississippians who obtain quality postsecondary credentials, certificates and degrees.
“We are excited about expanding our work with public and private sector partners to increase the number of Mississippians with the training and education needed to create long-term growth in the state,” said McHale. “That’s why Jack Woodward and Herman Hines started this work, and it’s why we are committed to continue building upon their vision.”