Until now, anyone in this area who wanted to an associate of arts degree had to travel to Park Hills or Poplar Bluff in Missouri or Ullin in Illinois for classes. But an expanded partnership between Mineral Area College in Park Hills, Three Rivers Community College in Poplar Bluff and Southeast Missouri State University means students can get an associate of arts degrees without leaving Cape Girardeau.
The Cape Girardeau Career and Technology Center will offer associate's degrees in several programs beginning with the fall semester. Both day and evening courses will be available in several areas. Enrollment continues today, and classes begin Aug. 23.
The partnership is intended to benefit students who might not have ordinarily enrolled for college courses because of the distance to a community college or because of low entrance-exam test scores.
Now those high school graduates whose ACT scores weren't as high as four-year universities require for enrollment and nontraditional students hoping to get college credits but who can't afford high tuition costs have other options.
Other benefits of the career center is that general-education credits in some of the programs will be fully transferable to Southeast, and area high school students participating in the statewide A+ program will get what amount to free tuition.
This partnership should benefit both students and the institutions involved, because it fills a big gap for community college courses in Cape Girardeau.