A+ program aims to increase college enrollment

“The goal is to increase the number of students going to college by providing scholarship money to help kids do that,” Carpenter said.

Savannah Alvis

The A+ program is a statewide program developed by the Missouri Department of Higher Education for high school students that see a future in going to college. Students that meet all program requirements are eligible for a two-year college scholarship. The A+ program was designed to try to boost college enrollments and ease the financial burden on students.

“The goal is to increase the number of students going to college by providing scholarship money to help kids do that,” Carpenter said.

While the scholarship helps to pay for college admissions, students need to make sure to go to a college that accepts the tuition.

“If you complete the program it pays for two years of tuition at a Missouri Community college,” Carpenter said. “There are also four year schools that give scholarships if students complete the program but the scholarship won’t be full tuition. The scholarship money ranges from $500 to $1,500 each year,” Carpenter added.

Signing up for A+ is just the start; there are many other components involved as well, including residence requirements, high school attendance and GPA.

“There are a number of requirements you have to complete to fulfill that. You have to be a US citizen or permanent resident. You have to go to an A+ school for three of the four years,” Carpenter said. “You have to graduate with a 2.5 GPA. The GPA has to be unweighted. If you take honor classes or weighted classes that doesn’t affect your GPA,” she added.

The attendance component is the one where many students stray off the path.

“You have to finish with a 95% attendance rate which is the one that many struggle with,” Carpenter said.

There is also a standardized testing component related to math that students must meet as well.

“The student also has to score Advanced or Proficient on a Math EOC or score a 17 or higher on the ACT math section,” Carpenter said.  

Additionally, Carpenter noted that students must maintain good citizenship, avoid drugs and alcohol and complete 50 hours of tutoring with younger BSSD students. Despite the rigorous requirements, A+ continues to be a very popular program.

“The number varies throughout the year because some kids join but don’t follow through the program, but we usually have 120 every graduating class,” Carpenter said.

Students can join at anytime in their high school career, but the sooner the better, according to Carpenter.

“I always encourage kids to start sooner than later because then you are aware of all the requirements. You also have enough time to finish all the requirements. The latest you can join is first semester senior year,” Carpenter said.