Missouri State University’s vision is to be the university of choice to develop successful students who excel academically and in ethical leadership, cultural competence and community engagement.
Providing access to higher education for traditionally underserved populations is a critical piece of that vision. Higher education provides tools for those who desire to break the cycle of poverty, transcend socio-economic boundaries, and achieve personal and professional success in the modern world.
Access to higher education in the United States has become more challenging in recent years. Tuition and fees have far exceeded inflation. The backlog of defaulted student loans continues to rise.
Recent news stories have revealed schemes where wealthy people game the system to get side door admission into elite schools and to obtain federal financial aid benefits that should have gone to low income students. These stories are aggravating and heart breaking.
Missouri State University must take a bold stand against this trend. We will make it easier to access an exceptional education for those who meet the standards for admission, regardless of their finances.
New access initiatives
We have initiated several programs over the last two months to address these access issues:
- We created a scholarship program to allow high school students on free or reduced lunch to take dual credit classes free of charge. This program was implemented for the fall semester in Springfield Public Schools and will go statewide in the spring. You can find more information in the Springfield and Kansas City press releases.
- We signed agreements with every Boys and Girls Club in the state to provide scholarships for their students to attend Missouri State. Additional information is available in the press release.
- We signed an agreement with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri (based in St. Louis) to provide scholarships for their students to attend Missouri State.
- We joined the Common App, which allows students to enter their information one time and apply to many colleges without having to submit separate application information.
- We will waive the undergraduate application fee.
I encourage everyone in the Missouri State community to join in this effort. Please help us get the word out that our university is committed to access for the underserved, and we provide pathways to a college degree for everyone.
State of the University Oct. 7
This year’s State of the University address is at 12:15 p.m. Oct. 7 in the PSU Theater. We will talk more about Missouri State’s commitment to access. Dr. Frank Einhellig and I will also highlight accomplishments from last year and plans for the year ahead. Please mark your calendar and plan to attend.
Thanks for all you do for Missouri State!