Community college group seeks budget increase for A+ program
JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Community College Association (MCCA) is awaiting a decision from Gov. Jay Nixon to increase its A+ program budget by $2 million.
The A+ program is a scholarship opportunity designed for high school seniors statewide. It provides eligible students funding toward two years of community college. There are more than 500 high schools around the state utilizing the program.
The Missouri General Assembly approved a bill last week to increase the MCCA budget from $35 million to $37 million. The MCCA said the additional funding would allow it to grant nearly 1,000 additional students scholarships. The program currently provides nearly 10,000 students with scholarships.
MCCA Executive Director Rob Dixon said the MCCA was afraid it would not have enough funding to finish the year in 2014. He said the program did not lack the necessary funding last year, but it continues to grow.
"The program has expanded, so there are more students now than there ever have been in the A+ program. Which is why, frankly, there's a concern that there is going to be a short fall in the future," he said.
The program requires students to maintain a 2.5 cumulative GPA and community service, performance, and behavior standards. Dixon said students going through the A+ program perform and graduate at higher rates than other community college students.
Dixon said the state Senate, House and Gov. Nixon's office have agreed the budget increase is necessary. The bill would not be finalized though until Gov. Nixon approves it. Dixon said that could happen as early as next week.