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STLCC to Participate in Win-Win Project

September 07, 2010

Most students enroll in college with the goal of earning a degree. They study hard, earn credits, are close to the degree requirements -- and then life happens. Financial, work or family problems force many students to drop out of college when they’re close to completing a degree.

A national initiative, called the Win-Win Project, has selected Missouri as one of six states in a program to help these students complete their education and attain their degrees. Missouri will receive a grant of $120,250 to work with four institutions, including St. Louis Community College, to identify former students who acquired enough credit for an associate degree but never received it, or who came within nine hours of completing the degree requirements.

The Institute for Higher Education Policy, with funds from the Lumina Foundation, chose Missouri for its robust community college system and data collection capability. The other institutions participating in the Win-Win Project are Metropolitan Community College in Kansas City, Columbia College and DeVry University.

“This grant will help more Missourians obtain college degrees, making them better prepared to compete for the jobs of the future,” Gov. Jay Nixon said. “As one of only six states selected by the Lumina Foundation and the Institute for Higher Education Policy to receive these funds, Missouri will be able to boost graduation rates for former students, including those who may be just a few credits short of earning their degrees.”

The Governor’s Summit on Higher Education, held last month in Jefferson City, provided education leaders around the state with ideas and direction for maintaining quality while increasing the number of college graduates.

STLCC data indicates that after leaving college, the average STLCC student will spend 38 years in the work force. The student who leaves with a two-year degree will earn nearly $500,000 more than someone with a high school diploma or GED. For every credit hour an STLCC student completes, that student will earn $116 more per year every year the student is in the work force.

Some economists project that 60 percent of tomorrow’s jobs will require a college degree. Education officials cite the need to produce an additional 3,300 graduates each year to raise the state’s rank from 35th in the nation in the number of young adults with college degrees.

The funds will be used to refine data collection techniques for identifying the students who are close to degree completion, so that the methods can be replicated across the country.