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The Freedman’s Aid Society of the Medical Episcopal Church, missionaries from the North, founded Rust College in 1866 in Mississippi. The school was originally held in Asbury Methodist Episcopal Church, providing education to adults and children at the elementary level. The first building was completed in 1869 and the school chartered as Shaw University in 1870. The school was named for Reverend S.O. Shaw who donated $10,000 to the new school.

In order to avoid confusion with a different Shaw University, the school became Rust University in 1892, named in honor of Richard S. Rust of Cincinnati, Ohio who was the Secretary of the Freedman’s Aid Society. The school became Rust College in 1915 to better reflect the educational programming of the school. As students learned, the school added high school and college courses to the curriculum. The first two college degrees were awarded in 1878 to Robert Q. Adams and Wesley Thomas. The grade school was discontinued in 1930 as public schools for blacks became more widespread, reducing the need for private schools. The high school curriculum was discontinued in 1953.

Of the approximately 20,000 alumni, more than 5,500 are graduates of the college department with the rest completing elementary or high school at Rust College. Graduates of the college have gone on to serve as bishops of the United Methodist Church, public school teachers, school administrators, college presidents, lawyers, physicians, as well as government and business leaders. Rust College is located in Holly Springs, Mississippi, approximately 35 miles southeast of Memphis. It is a historically black, co-educational liberal arts college. There are almost 1,000 students enrolled at Rust College and the school is still affiliated with the United Methodist Church.

Rust College Accreditation Details

Rust College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools – Commission on Colleges. In addition, the college is accredited by the Mississippi Department of Education, the University Senate of the United Methodist Church and the Council of Social Work Education.

Rust College Admission Requirements

In order to attend Rust College, potential students must complete an application for admission and submit the applicable fee. Students must provide an official high school transcript and a high school transcript release form. Students must also provide an immunization record and official ACT or SAT scores. Two letters of recommendation are required with one provide by a principal. Transfer students must also provide official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended.

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Tuition and Financial Aid

Full-time tuition at Rust College is $9,500 per year. Financial aid is available in the following forms:

  • Federal Pell Grants
  • Federal SEOG Grants
  • Mississippi Resident Tuition Assistance Grant
  • Mississippi Eminent Scholars Grant
  • Higher Education Legislative Plan
  • Critical Needs Teacher Loan/Scholarship Program
  • William winter Teacher Scholar Loan Program
  • Gear Up Mississippi Scholarship
  • Rust College Academic Dean Fellowship
  • Rust College President’s Scholarship
  • Rust College Honor’s Track
  • Band, Choir and Drama Grants
  • Endowed Scholarships
  • Lettie Pate Scholarship
  • United Negro College Fund
  • United Methodist Minister’s Tuition Grant
  • CME Minister’s Tuition Grant
  • United Methodist Ethnic Minority Scholarship
  • United Methodist General Scholarship
  • United Methodist Foundation Scholars Program
  • William D. Ford Federal Direct Loans
  • Direct PLUS Loans
  • Federal Work-Study

In addition, students may be eligible for the Marshall County, Employee and Dependents or Sibling Discounts available through Rust College.

Students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in order to be eligible for financial aid.

Degree Programs Available

Bachelor of Science Business Administration

The Business Administration degree at Rust College provides students with a foundation in business knowledge through innovative instruction, applied research internship and service learning. Students are provided guidance in ethics, preparing them to meet the challenges of an increasingly global business marketplace. Students develop strong analytical and problem-solving skills using qualitative and quantitative techniques. Students gain an understanding of business disciplines as well as strategic recommendations that demonstrate the functional areas of business. Students may choose to concentrate their studies in Accounting, Management or Computer Information Systems. A minimum of 124 credit hours is required to complete the program.

Teacher Education

Rust College offers teacher education programs designed to prepare graduates for careers in education. The programs use a constructivist philosophy based on inquiry in a caring, competent Christian environment. In a constructivist philosophy, students create their own learning from direct and indirect experiences in their own environment. This is a break from traditional teacher education programs requiring students to complete curriculum in three distinct units. These units include general studies, content studies for specialization areas as well as professional and pedagogical studies. Curriculum is based on five guiding principles proposed by Brooks and Brooks in 1993:

  • Posing problems of emerging relevance to students
  • Structuring learning around primary concepts for the quest for excellence
  • Seeking and valuing the student’s point of view
  • Adapting curriculum to address students’ suppositions
  • Assessing student learning in the context of teaching

Social Work

The Social Work program provides generalist foundation courses designed for entry-level positions in the social work field. In addition, the program prepares students for graduate studies. All students who wish to apply for the social work program must complete Introduction to Social Welfare and Community Volunteerism. Students must complete 33 hours of classroom education, three hours of field seminar and nine hours of practicum, taken concurrently with the field seminar. Students may opt to take the weekend social work program if they have completed their basic general education requirements in liberal arts or have an accredited degree in a discipline other than social work. Social work programs at Rust College are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

Students at Rust College receive rigorous training in their chosen program and there are courses offered in formats that allow working adults to achieve their higher education goals. Students who may have work, social or family obligations that make it difficult for them to attend traditional classes may benefit from some of the flexible options offered at Rust College.