By Steve Koehler
High school students throughout southwest Missouri now have an extra incentive to use the Missouri A+ program after an agreement was recently signed between Ozarks Technical Community College and Drury University.
OTC A+ students who meet certain academic criteria will be able to dual enroll at both the College and Drury and then transfer seamlessly to the four-year university after attaining their associate of arts degree at OTC.
They also could qualify for a $5,000 scholarship that will be available only to A+ students.
Qualifying students that began at OTC in the fall of 2009, as freshmen, are eligible for the program.
All Springfield schools along with a long list of local school districts are designated A+ schools including Nixa, Ozark, Republic, Lebanon, Branson, Bolivar and Waynesville can participate in the new program.
“This partnership provides an excellent opportunity for our A+ students to continue their education at Drury. Those students who benefit from the A+ program in their first two years will now be eligible for scholarships that were not previously available, said Dr. Hal Higdon, president of OTC.
“We see students 13,000 strong come to OTC this fall and they are bright, committed, well-educated students that will do well at OTC. They’ll do well at Drury, and they’ll come back into this community and they’ll make this a better place to live for all of us.”
Drury President Todd Parnell added, “We want to make it as easy as possible for students to get a quality first-class, four-year education and we’re working together to try and provide that.”
To be qualified for early admission at Drury, the A+ students must be admissible to Drury, maintain at least a 3.25 grade point average each semester at OTC and graduate from OTC with an associate’s degree.
The A+ Program, more than 15 years old, is a one-of-a-kind program that has opened the doors of Missouri’s community colleges to thousands of eligible high-school students.
It provides tuition to any Missouri public community college or career/technical school to high school students that meet the following requirements:
• Graduate from high school with an overall GPA of 2.5 or higher on a 4-point scale.
• Perform 50 hours of district-supervised, unpaid tutoring or mentoring.
• Enter into a written agreement with the high school prior to graduation.
• Attend an A+ designated school for three years immediately prior to graduation.
• Maintain a record of good citizenship and avoid the use of drugs and alcohol
When the program began at Ozarks Technical Community College, there were just 70 A+ students. This year, there are more than 1,800 students participating.
In all, more than 15,000 students have used A+ funds to attend OTC and earn an associate’s degree, complete workforce training or advance to a four-year institution.
The program has helped OTC establish itself in the community as an educational choice that wasn’t here 19 years ago.
Initially, the A+ program was designed to help reduce the high-school dropout rate and assist the state’s businesses and industries fill their ranks with well-educated, well-trained workers.
But the program has gone on to spur many more high-school students to work hard to meet the requirements to qualify for the A+ program and experience a community college education.
For more information about the program, call OTC at (417) 447-7500.
College Director of Communications
Coordinator of Publications
Phone: (417) 447-2666