Cost is often a major barrier for students who wish to attend college, but, beginning with the fall 2019 semester, a new financial aid program in Missouri removes that obstacle.
The Fast Track Workforce Incentive Grant will pay tuition and fees for any student in the state who is more than 25 years old. Students less than 25 years old are eligible for Fast Track as long as they have not been enrolled in any education program in the previous two years.
“This financial aid program is designed to help Missourians who want to work but need extra training to get a promotion or qualify for that higher-paying job,” said Dr. Hal Higdon, chancellor at Ozarks Technical Community College. “Fast Track will also help Missouri employers who are looking to hire highly skilled workers.”
Besides the age requirements, Fast Track funding students must meet the following criteria:
- Be a Missouri resident
- Meet the income requirements: Household income of $80,000 or less for a family, $40,000 or less for an individual
- Complete a Fast Track application
- Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
- Not have circumstances preventing a student from receiving federal student aid, such as, being in default on a federal loan
- Enroll in an eligible college program determined to be high-need by the state
The Missouri Department of Higher Education selected which programs at each college in the state are eligible for Fast Track funding. These include, but are not limited to: accounting and business management, engineering, nursing, teaching and welding. The complete list of eligible OTC programs can be found here.
Generally, Fast Track pays tuition and general fees for four semesters of full-time enrollment at any Missouri public college or university or the part-time equivalent. Even if a student’s tuition and fees are entirely paid for by other financial aid funding, Fast Track eligible students can qualify for up to $500 to cover any remaining educational costs.
The grant does convert to a loan if any of the following occur:
- The student does not graduate from an approved program
- The student does not secure full-time employment within 12 months following graduation
- The student does not remain a Missouri resident for three years following graduation
The Fast Track Workforce Incentive Grant is another step in Missouri’s Big Goal for Higher Education, which is to have 60 percent of the state’s working-age adults earn a degree or certificate by 2025.
Individuals interested in learning more about the Fast Track Workforce Initiative Grant should contact the OTC Financial Aid Department at (417) 447-6999 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.