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SLPS, Ranken collaborate on scholarship

By Rachel Lippmann, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – The St. Louis Public Schools and a local technical college have unveiled an agreement to help some of the district's students pay for education after high school.

Ranken Technical College will use some of its endowment to help fund the college education of 50 students a year from the district's Fresh Start Academy, which allows students who fell short of graduating or dropped out to get a high school diploma in a year.

The students will have to pass Ranken's entrance exam and apply for all available federal and state aid. The scholarship will cover the gap between the funding and the cost of the program at Ranken, said Ben Ernst, the college's president.

"It's obvious to us that these students, if indeed they're going to get a post-secondary education, they don't have the funds to pay out of pocket," said Ernst.

Academy president Sean Nichols echoed the sentiment. "This gives them an opportunity to just worry about the small things, y'know, buying those personal needs that they need to get through college," he said.

Ernst has tried similar programs with the district in the past, and said this one will be successful because it's dealing with a smaller population.

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