Grant to help Missourians complete associate degrees

October 13, 2012

Missouri will receive a $500,000 competitive grant to help more state residents complete their associate degrees from community colleges, Gov. Jay Nixon announced Friday.

In a news release, the governor said the grant from the Lumina Foundation supports his goal of increasing the percentage of working-age Missourians with post-secondary degrees from 35 percent to 60 percent by 2020.

According to the release, the Missouri Department of Higher Education will use the grant to create a statewide system for reverse transfer among the state’s two- and four-year institutions, both public and independent. A reverse transfer policy will enable students who have accumulated sufficient credit, in combination from those institutions, to earn an associate degree. Almost 2,000 Missouri students are expected to be able to earn associate degrees as a result of the two-year grant.

State Fair Community College President Marsha Drennon said: “This is great news for students in Missouri. SFCC has a rather new reverse transfer agreement with University of Central Missouri. This announcement will provide even greater opportunities for our students to complete their degrees.”

The Lumina Foundation joined with four other national foundations — The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Helios Education Foundation, Kresge Foundation and USA Funds — in the initiative called, “Credit When It’s Due: Recognizing the Value of the Quality Associate Degree.” The foundations announced a total of $6.4 million in grants to support initiatives in Missouri and 11 other states.

“Some 750,000 Missourians have college credits but no degree, and by 2018, nearly two-thirds of all jobs in the United States will require some kind of post-secondary education,” Nixon said. “Higher education is the key to Missouri’s sustained economic progress and quality of life, and essential to our nation’s ability to compete and win in a global economy.”