JACKSON, Miss. (AP) _ Eight Mississippi colleges and universities will share in $2.25 million to provide better academic opportunities for students and to improve retention and graduation rates.

The funding from the Department of Education was announced Friday bu U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., in a news release.

Wicker says the money can be used for academic tutoring in reading, writing, mathematics and science.

The recipients of the grants are Pearl River Community College in Poplarville, $313,316; University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, $257,087; Rust College in Holly Springs, $278,980; Holmes Community College in Goodman, $283,339; Mississippi Valley State University in Itta Bena, $257,020; Alcorn State University in Lorman, $329,571; Mississippi State University in Starkville, $246,050; and Hinds Community College in Utica, $284,754.