A-plus students could keep using money under proposal

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By BRENT MARTIN

St. Joseph Post

Unused A-plus scholarship money wouldn’t go to waste under a
bill sponsored this legislative session by St. Joseph Rep. Brenda Shields.

Shields proposes letting students who have leftover A-plus
money after earning an Associates College Degree to use it toward a four-year
degree.

“What if we create this grant that if you’ve spent your first
two years in a community college and you’ve done everything that you’re
supposed to, seek all the federal dollars, and you didn’t use any of your A-plus
money in those first years and that you actually went to community college and
you actually received your associates degree from a community college, we
developed a grant of $10,000 that you could use for the remainder of your
education at any public or private university or college in the state of
Missouri?” Shields poses the question during an appearance on the KFEQ Hotline.

Students who use A-plus scholarship money from the state must
first seek as much federal assistance, such as a Pell Grant, as they can prior
to accessing the state money. The A-plus money can be used to attend
participating public community colleges or vocational/technical schools as well
as some private two-year tech schools.

Shields sponsors HB 1902, a bill that would allow students to
use any leftover funds to go toward a four-year degree.

“But there are those that really strive for their college
diploma and I think we have to come up with some creative ways in which we can take
the burden of that student loan debt off of individuals,” Shields says.

She argues the legislature should not restrict use of the
money.

“And sometimes I think we lose track when we get all wrapped
up with some of the other things; we lose track that this bill was to help
students who didn’t have any other way to attend higher education. We know that
education cannot stop at high school.”