Affordable college for East Alabama chamber members

Published: May. 21, 2021 at 5:34 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The Chamber of Gadsden and Etowah County is looking to make higher education more affordable for members.

Thursday they announced a partnership with Jacksonville State University.

Starting this fall, members and employees of the Chamber of Gadsden and Etowah county will receive about 20% percent off their tuition at Jacksonville State.

The Chamber is looking to offer employees more education opportunities. Employees may be full or part time at the start of semester and must provide proof to receive the discounted rate.

“We see this agreement as a three-fold benefit,” said Heather Brothers New, president and CEO of The Chamber. “This is a benefit of membership, a benefit that members can offer to or use to recruit employees, and this will increase enrollment and degree completion at Jacksonville State, which benefits our overall economic health and economic recruitment efforts.”

With so many impacted with Covid-19, the partnership is right on time for those who may have had to put school on hold last year.

“When I think of this I think of the word hope. Especially after last year, some of them had to drop out of school because they had to take care of a family,” says Morgan Lavender Board of Directors Chair.

“Or they’re younger and this is going to be completing a dream at a much more economical cost. Maybe it’s a young person that just needs an extra financial boost to get started.”

Dr. Don Killingsworth, President of Jacksonville State says he’s excited about the partnership and happy to extend this to the chamber.

“On behalf of Jacksonville State University, we are excited about this partnership and opportunity that we can provide to the Chamber members and their employees,” Dr. Don Killingsworth, president of JSU added.

“Etowah County is still second in our recruiting, so it’s very important to the overall health of the institution. We have a longstanding history in Etowah County.”

For those hesitant about enrolling, the university is offering a free online course this fall. Many will qualify for a free online course - Social Work 306: Stress, Coping & Resilience. The course begins August 18, but individuals can enroll now by visiting

Employees who are current students or looking to enroll, should complete the online application process. Toward the end of the application, they must answer “yes” to the question that asks if the applicant is employed by one of JSU’s business partnerships and select the applicable chamber of commerce. For students already enrolled at JSU, the student will need to contact admissions for specific instructions on how to qualify for the benefit and the documentation required.

For more details on the partnership, visit

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