Missouri Department of Higher Education issues guidance regarding A+ Scholarship eligibility amid COVID-19

A+ Program

Due to school closures in response to preventing the spread of COVID-19, the Missouri Department of Higher Education & Workforce Development (MDHEWD) has temporarily reduced or suspended certain A+ Scholarship eligibility requirements.

Communication to Missouri high schools and college financial aid officers was sent Thursday afternoon outlining the temporary changes to the program for 2020 high school seniors and college students hoping to renew the scholarship for 2020-21.

“We know alternative methods for teaching, and extended time off from school could make qualifying for A+ a challenge for many Missouri students,” said Zora Mulligan, commissioner of higher education. “It’s our hope that by temporarily changing some of the requirements to reflect this unprecedented situation, our students can still be successful in earning and renewing this scholarship.”

High school seniors working toward A+ eligibility will have a reduced number of tutoring/mentoring hours from 50 to 25. A student with a cumulative 2.5 GPA at the end of either the Fall 2019 or Spring 2020 semester will be eligible. MDHEWD is working with the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to develop guidance for the Algebra I end-of-course exam requirement.

College students utilizing the A+ Scholarship were previously required to maintain a minimum 2.5 GPA to be eligible for renewal. Due to classes at many institutions unexpectedly moving to online-only options, a student must now meet only the school’s satisfactory academic progress requirements, even if the school requires less than a 2.5 GPA. Postsecondary institutions have the option to apply the All Available Hours exception to the full- time enrollment requirement for students impacted by closures and/or alternative delivery methods.

The changes to the department guidelines for A+ only apply to 2020 high school seniors and college students for the 2019-2020 academic year. Additional guidance may be issued if it becomes necessary in this rapidly evolving situation.

More than 13,000 students utilized the A+ Scholarship at Missouri public colleges in 2018-2019.