Convenient classes

Monday, June 7, 2004

High school students in rural Bollinger County are interested in college classes after graduation but don't necessarily want to leave home to get their education.

Area educational institutions are responding to the request for post-secondary options in the county. Southeast Missouri State University, the Cape Girardeau Career and Technology Center and Three Rivers Community College in Poplar Bluff, Mo., each have expressed an interest in offering courses in Bollinger County.

Southeast hopes to expand its online course offerings, perhaps through a community computer lab, while Three Rivers intends to offer some of its courses at Bollinger County high schools as early as this fall.

Admissions representatives from Three Rivers will be in Bollinger County Tuesday to discuss enrollment and financial aid options for interested students.

The desire for college-level courses has been evident in recent surveys of high school students in Bollinger County. Students want to have a post-secondary education or some technical training opportunities.

But since there is no college in Bollinger County, residents who seek a higher education have to travel to Three Rivers Community College, Mineral Area College in Park Hills, Mo., or Southeast Missouri State University. The drive can be long and somewhat dangerous in bad weather.

For months, the Bollinger County Community Development Committee has been trying to find a way to offer students some education options after high school without sending them out of the county. Committee members have been encouraged by how interested people were by the prospect of college classes in Bollinger County.

Offering college classes closer to home makes sense. With the Internet and availability of satellite courses, there's no reason why Bollinger County shouldn't benefit from some college-level course offerings for the community.

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