Missouri high schools learning about A+ Program cuts

Missouri high schools learning about A+ Program cuts

SIKESTON, MO (KFVS) - Come December, Missouri high school students will find out exactly how much funding they will receive from the A+ Scholarship Program.

In the past, the program paid for two years of tuition at any Missouri technical or community college, as long as students met the GPA and attendance requirements.

However, high school students could soon get a letter that says the A+ Program does not equal two years of free tuition.

Instead, current proposals could cut that funding, meaning it would quit reimbursing community colleges for up to 4 credit hours per student starting in the spring.

"There's a bunch of students participating in the A+ program so the money they are setting aside, there's more and more students," Sikeston A+ Coordinator Tiffany Morgan said. "So that's a good thing. More students are getting involved in A+. But the money, not having enough money is pretty upsetting."

Morgan said that about 70 students at Sikeston High School are planning to apply for the A+ program.

"The ones that are going to a junior college, they do rely on it and they are hoping for full tuition paid for," Morgan said.

Emma Piepenbrok is a junior. She plans on using the tuition assistance so she can study early childhood development.

"It's really good for children that don't have a lot of money, they are able to get the education."

However, Morgan said it's upsetting to hear about potential cuts.

"The students are, as I tell them, any money is better than nothing," Morgan said. "But we are going to be as positive as we can be, thinking hat hopefully the funding will be there."

According to the Missouri Department of Higher Education, college students enrolled for the spring 2015 term and mid-year high school graduates enrolling in college for the spring term will be impacted immediately if these changes do take effect.

In the 2014 fiscal year, the program supplied nearly 13,000 students with tuition assistance.

That cost $32.1 million.

By the 2016 fiscal year, the department projects that 15,000 students will apply for the program, however, the budget is currently set at $33.1 million.

A+ coordinators will meet in November to talk about these possible changes.

A final decision will be made in December.

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