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Community College

With college costs rising every year, Missouri’s A+ Scholarship Program is a bargain – 50 hours of tutoring in exchange for two free years of community college.

College access advocates, however, argue that the money isn’t going to the students who need it most.

“We know there are people who utilize A+ who come from families that make $100,000 or $200,000 a year,” said Karissa Anderson, the advocacy director for the Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis.

College and graduation illustration
Illustration by Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

Federal financial aid for low-income students that's now available all year could push more students through community colleges faster and increase the likelihood of them earning a degree.

The U.S. Department of Education announced the return of year-round Pell Grants for the fiscal year that began July 1. And with large portions of students studying at community colleges eligible for the grant program, it could increase summer enrollment figures.

Scott Ranft, Stephen Mausshardt and Brandon Weinrich work at Ranken Technical College's Programmable Logic Controllers Lab.
File | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis area ITT Tech students have a decision to make if they want to continue their education now that their school has closed its doors.

The U.S. Department of Education is offering the students forgiveness on their federal loans, but if the students accept the offer they can’t transfer credits.

That means Missouri's estimated 700 ITT Tech students are most likely out either time or money, if not both.

Field of students at a graduation
j.o.h.n. walker | Flickr

A four-year pilot initiative in Quincy hopes to develop a pipeline of skilled workers to fill technical jobs at local businesses.

After President Barack Obama announced a plan last week for two years of free tuition at community colleges, "St. Louis on the Air" asked its listeners to weigh in on the proposal.

President Barack Obama took to Facebook and Vine last week to announce his free community college proposal.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: George Wasson, who resigned as president of the Meramec campus of St. Louis Community College in the wake of an alleged assault on a student that was not publicized, will be paid more than $25,700 for unspecified duties until his contract expires at the end of next month.

In a statement released by the college, Chancellor Myrtle Dorsey, who oversees all four campuses of the school, said she had accepted Wasson’s resignation, effective immediately. But, she said, Wasson was “asked to remain available for unfinished actions commenced by him, and in exchange he was placed on paid administrative leave until his contract expires June 30, 2013.”

Commentary: Rethinking the concept of college

Apr 9, 2012

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 9, 2012 - In this era of increasing globalization and fierce economic competition, most countries recognize their futures will be powerfully shaped by the quality of their investments in schools and, especially, education beyond high school. I believe the state of American post-secondary and higher education is neither strong nor are the major trends encouraging.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 28, 2010 - With health care stuck in neutral, political gridlock in the Senate, millions still out of work and two wars grinding on, President Barack Obama's spotlight on schools in the State of the Union address was a welcome bright spot for local educators.

"It was very encouraging to have community colleges referred to so positively in the State of the Union speech," said John M. McGuire, president of St. Charles Community College.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 21, 2009 - Anecdotal reports throughout the fall had community college enrollments rising fast, in large part because of the schools’ comparatively low costs and focus on workforce training. Turns out those early indications were correct.

A survey from the American Association of Community Colleges shows that the number of students nationwide who enrolled in credit courses at two-year colleges this fall increased by 11.4 percent from fall 2008 and 16.9 percent from fall 2007. Full-time enrollment rose 24.1 percent from fall 2007 to fall 2009.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 17, 2009 - Vice President Joe Biden's whirlwind tour of Missouri continuesdthis morning at the  University of Missouri St. Louis with a forum on making college education more affordable.

Jill Biden delivered the opening  remarks, with the vice president standing by her side. 

Jill Biden said that when families experience job losses, "college is the first thing to go." She cited the students, parents and faculty in the audience and said, "We are here for all of you."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 25, 2009 - With a faltering economy making tuition increasingly unaffordable, many college students face the prospect of having to cut back on classes to defer costs. This may not be necessary for some nursing students at Webster University, which announced last week its plan to distribute roughly $100,000 in scholarship and stipend money to current students.