Cape career center gives new options for degrees

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Maybe you're a fresh high school graduate whose ACT scores weren't high enough to enroll in a four-year university. Or maybe you're a nontraditional student looking to pick up a few college credits but can't afford the tuition costs at larger universities.

Whatever the scenario, access to community college courses for Cape Girardeau area residents in the past meant a trip out of town.

That will change this fall with the addition of several programs offering associate's degrees at the Cape Girardeau Career and Technology Center. The change is made possible through a partnership involving Mineral Area College in Park Hills, Mo., Three Rivers Community College in Poplar Bluff, Mo., and Southeast Missouri State University.

Both day and evening courses will be offered in a variety of areas, including general education classes such as college writing, algebra and psychology. Classes begin the week of Aug. 23, with enrollment Aug. 10 and 11 at the Career and Technology Center.

Mark Bowles, superintendent of the Cape Girardeau School District, which oversees the Career and Technology Center, said the associate's program will benefit students who ordinarily might not have been able to take college courses because of transportation or low college entrance test scores.

Most universities require students to achieve a certain score on college entrance tests, such as the ACT, in order to be admitted. At Southeast, the requirement is a composite score of 18 on the ACT, and at the University of Missouri a 24 composite score is required for admission.

At the Career and Technology Center, there will be no minimum ACT score requirement for enrollment. Tuition will be set at the same rates used at Mineral Area.

"I think there are two benefits locally," Bowles said. "This will make the degree accessible here. It doesn't penalize students for living in Cape."

Officials say the second benefit will be to Southeast, where students may transfer after they've received their associate's degrees.

Cape Girardeau School Board member Sharon Mueller said she thinks the new program and the partnership involving the three higher education institutions will benefit many students.

"It's not stealing them from other colleges," Mueller said. "We're focusing on a group of students who otherwise couldn't get degrees ."

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