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A+ Eligibility and the Delayed Release of 2018-2019
Algebra I EOC Threshold Scores

At its June 2019 meeting, the Coordinating Board for Higher Education took action to address an A+ scholarship eligibility issue for some 2019 high school seniors. This message provides background about this issue and information about the accommodations approved by the CBHE.

Students must score proficient or advanced on the Algebra I or a higher math end-of-course exam (EOC) or meet a designated alternative to be eligible for the A+ Scholarship. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education recently informed the Missouri Department of Higher Education that the threshold scores that correspond to proficient and advanced designations for the 2018-2019 EOCs are expected to be released in late July 2019. The delayed score release will impact A+ Scholarship eligibility for some 2019 seniors who have not yet achieved a qualifying combination of ACT math subscore and high school grade point average, and who will not know if they have achieved a qualifying Algebra I, or higher math, EOC score until after summer 2019 enrollment has begun.

This situation is similar to that faced by the 2018 seniors last year and so will be handled similarly. To reduce uncertainty and ensure all eligible students receive timely reimbursement, the CBHE has instituted a temporary waiver of the Algebra I EOC requirement for spring graduates of the senior class of 2019 who are impacted by the delayed score release. This allows 2019 high school seniors who took the Algebra I EOC, or a higher level math EOC, during their senior year and are otherwise eligible for the A+ Scholarship to receive summer 2019 reimbursement pending release of the EOC scores. A decision about whether to extend the waiver to the fall 2019 term will be made later this summer dependent upon the actual timing of the score release. Unlike last year, the temporary waiver will not apply to mid-year graduates who were enrolled in the spring 2019 term as that term was complete at the time of DESE’s notification.

Under the temporary waiver, A+ designated high schools will continue to verify a student has met the A+ eligibility criteria, but will delay affixing the A+ stamp to the transcript for the affected students until DESE releases the EOC threshold scores. In place of the A+ stamped transcript, high schools must provide a letter with the unstamped transcript verifying the student is included in the waiver population and is otherwise eligible for the A+ Scholarship. At a minimum, the verification letter must include language that indicates the student is included in the waiver population and is otherwise eligible for the A+ Scholarship program. High schools may include the sample language provided below in the letter, and may also include other information determined to be beneficial to their unique student population. The letter must be on high school letterhead and signed by the A+ coordinator or a school administrator.

  • Sample Language
    I certify that <Student Name> is a 2019 high school senior who took the 2018-2019 <Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry> end-of-course exam, which is pending scoring by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. I also certify that <Student Name> has met all of the A+ Scholarship’s high school eligibility requirements with the exception of the Algebra I EOC requirement or its alternatives.

This temporary protocol only applies to otherwise eligible 2019 seniors who took the Algebra I EOC, or a higher level math EOC approved by DESE, in 2018-2019 and are affected by the delayed score release. High schools should not provide letters to 2019 seniors who did not take a qualifying EOC exam during the 2018-2019 academic year. In addition, high schools must continue to provide an A+ stamped transcript for those students who have met all of the A+ Scholarship eligibility criteria, including those who have already achieved a qualifying EOC score or met the alternative. Once a waiver-eligible student’s EOC score is known, the student will be required to return to the high school to verify their eligibility and, if they are eligible, request a copy of the A+ stamped transcript be sent to the postsecondary institution in which they are enrolled. High schools are encouraged to notify these students upon receipt of the threshold scores.

Until MDHE sends notification of the score release, A+ participating postsecondary institutions may request reimbursement for the 2019 seniors who either have an A+ stamped transcript, or an unstamped transcript accompanied by a verification letter from the high school. This issue is expected to be resolved much earlier this year and will hopefully only affect the summer 2019 term. MDHE anticipates DESE will release the scores early enough to allow A+ participating postsecondary institutions to collect an A+ stamped transcript prior to requesting fall reimbursement. However, if the notification occurs after the fall 2019 term begins, MDHE will provide additional information regarding reimbursement for the impacted students at that time.

Students found to be eligible after DESE releases the Algebra I EOC scores are responsible for ensuring their A+ participating postsecondary institution has all of the information required to request reimbursement. Students found to be ineligible after DESE releases the Algebra I EOC scores may retain any A+ funds received under the temporary waiver of the requirement. However, they cannot receive any additional A+ funds unless they achieve the combined ACT math subscore/high school grade point average alternative to the Algebra I EOC requirement at a later time. If the alternative is achieved later, the student must provide documentation of the achievement to the high school and request an A+ stamped transcript be sent to the A+ participating postsecondary institution.

Thank you for your assistance in ensuring A+ students are not adversely affected by this circumstance that is beyond their control. If you have any questions, please contact:

Connie Bestgen, financial aid specialist
800-473-6757, option 4, 573-751-1772, or 

Amy Haller, financial aid specialist
573-526-7958 or  

Kelli Reed, senior associate
573-751-2444 or