The State Fair Community College Board of Trustees on Thursday approved a “free tuition” program for dual credit high school students who qualify for free or reduced lunch.

The program will begin spring 2020 semester and is an effort to increase access to higher education, a central tenant of SFCC’s mission.

“Studies have shown that high school students who earn college credits before graduating are more likely to complete high school, go on to college and earn degrees,” said Dr. Joanna Anderson, SFCC president. “This tuition-free dual credit program will remove the financial barrier for high school students from low-income families.”

The free tuition for dual credit will apply to online and on site courses at the high schools or any of the SFCC campus locations.

SFCC

“There is a clear and obvious population of students being underserved in Missouri and we want to change that,” said Anderson.

According to an October 2018 report from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, 48.98 percent of students received free or reduced lunch. Yet only about 18 percent of SFCC’s dual credit students this fall qualified for free or reduced lunches.

“Our numbers show that more students from higher socioeconomic backgrounds are already taking advantage of dual credit courses from State Fair Community College,” said Anderson. “This tuition-free program will provide dual credit opportunities for low income students that hopefully can reduce the gap in educational attainment.”

Students receiving free tuition for dual credit courses will be required to meet with an SFCC Admissions and Outreach advisor each semester for academic planning and student success assistance.

“This requirement sets our program apart from others,” Anderson said. “Many of these students will be the first in their family to take a college course and this personal assistance will encourage their success.”

Dr. Brent Bates, vice president for Education and Student Support Services, announced the news to a group of high school counselors attending a meeting at State Fair Community College Tuesday afternoon. The audience broke into applause.

“Everyone is super excited about the opportunities this new program presents,” said Bates. “To say the feedback I received was positive would be an understatement.”

State Fair Community College will begin working with the schools immediately and encourages high school administrators to direct inquiries to Meagan Klein at mklein1@sfccmo.edu or (660) 596-7221.