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April 23, 2015

College application program to be expanded statewide

A program to help more Missouri high school seniors navigate the college application process will be expanded statewide this fall. Apply Missouri 2015, set for September and October, will be open to all high schools in the state.

Initially called Missouri College Application Week, the program was offered at a limited number of schools in 2013 and 2014.

The program, sponsored by the Missouri Department of Higher Education, promotes the benefits of higher education and helps students submit applications to colleges, universities and other postsecondary schools they are interested in attending. While the program is available to all seniors at participating high schools, it will focus on assisting low-income students and those who would be the first in their families to attend college – students who may be unfamiliar with the college application process.

“Higher education contributes to a good quality of life and a strong economy,” said David Russell, Missouri commissioner of higher education. “Apply Missouri will help students explore a variety of options for education beyond high school and submit applications to schools that are a good fit for them.”

Department officials say the college application process establishes important communication channels between students, guidance counselors and higher education institutions. Colleges communicate with students who submit applications in the fall an average of five times, providing information about degree programs, grant and scholarship opportunities, housing options and other details that can help students plan for higher education.

High schools that host an Apply Missouri event are required to provide time and resources during the school day for all seniors interested in submitting an application to one or more higher education institutions. Schools also are encouraged to host assemblies, college fairs, contests and other activities that emphasize the importance of higher education.

The Department of Higher Education will provide training and materials to help schools plan an Apply Missouri event.

By 2018, approximately 60 percent of all jobs in Missouri will require some form of higher education – a professional certificate or a two- or four-year degree. Currently only about 49 percent of working age Missourians have a college degree or certificate.

In 2013, more than 2,000 students at 26 high schools submitted applications during the College Application Week pilot project. Nearly 2,900 students at 55 high schools submitted applications the following year.

The Missouri College Advising Corps assisted with the launch of College Application Week and will be participating in this year's Apply Missouri program. The advising corps is a group of recent college graduates who work in specific Missouri high schools with a large percentage of students who are less likely to attend college.

For more information about Apply Missouri 2015, visit dhe.mo.gov/ppc/applymissouri.php.