Missouri's A+ program will expand. That was the message shared by Gov. Jay Nixon last week at Scott City High School.
The A+ program provides an opportunity for students to meet specific criteria and receive two years of free college tuition to any of the state's public community colleges. Ninety-nine percent of the state's public high schools are in the program, and Scott City was a recent addition.
An April Associated Press story pointed to a report by the Project on Student Debt that said the average student in the class of 2011 who borrowed money finished school with an average of $26,600 in loan debt. Figures like this make the A+ program all the more appealing for those seeking higher education.
Program criteria, in addition to attending an A+ school, includes maintaining a minimum of a B average, 95 percent or better attendance and 50 hours of mentoring younger students.
We realize that the program will not appeal to all students. Some know early on they will attend a four-year university. Others may plan to enter the workforce after high school. But for students who plan to start at a community college, the program can provide significant cost savings.
As one school year winds down, we hope counselors, administrators, teachers and parents discuss this program with students.