Missouri State has signed an agreement with Springfield Public Schools to offer dual credit courses to qualified students on free or reduced lunches at no cost.

The pilot program would let students apply college credit they earn in high school to a degree at Missouri State or Missouri State-West Plains.

Here’s more from Missouri State:

Missouri State University is piloting a program to provide dual credit scholarships to students who qualify for free and reduced lunches.

Dual credit courses allow high school students to earn high school and college credits at the same time.

The pilot program is available to students who take dual credit courses with Missouri State through Springfield Public Schools, as well as students in districts that provide dual credit through Missouri State-West Plains.

Research shows that students who complete college dual credit courses in high school are more likely to pursue and complete two-year and four-year degrees following high school.

The goal of this program is to make college more accessible, improve workforce readiness and support a statewide goal of increasing the number of Missouri citizens with a college degree.

“Dual credit courses provide opportunities for students to get a head start on a college education,” said Missouri State President Clif Smart. “We want to make dual credit accessible to all students, regardless of their financial situation.”

More than 50% of students in Springfield Public Schools qualify for free or reduced lunch and would be eligible for the scholarship.

“The opportunity to partner with Missouri State University to expand access to higher education for under-resourced students is a big step forward in the pursuit of equity,” said Dr. John Jungmann, superintendent of Springfield Public Schools.

“Beyond the impact to SPS, this agreement opens doors for students participating in Launch virtual learning, as well as for our regional GO CAPS partners. We greatly appreciate Missouri State University’s commitment to exploring new ways to reach and welcome students in order to help prepare them for successful futures.”

To qualify, a student must:

Be enrolled in one of the qualifying schools or programs.
Qualify for free or reduced lunches.
Have at least a 3.0 high school Grade Point Average.
Meet course prerequisites, if applicable, to enroll in a class.