To even the playing field and to break the cycle of poverty, Missouri State University has taken a stance. The university is making it easier to access a college education, because we know that higher education helps people overcome socio-economic boundaries, and achieve personal and professional success.
Dr. Ryan Reed, coordinator of access programs at Missouri State, says his office develops partnerships and scholarship programs with community organizations and foundations to make college affordable for first-generation, low-income students. Then they work to improve the retention and persistence rates of these students by providing academic support programming, advising and referrals.
Currently, access programs partners with:
- Kauffman Scholars Inc.
- Wyman Center
- College Bound
- KIPP St. Louis
- 100 Black Men of St. Louis
- All Boys & Girls Clubs in Missouri
- Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri
- The Ellis Foundation
These access program partnerships lower the entry barrier – to allow everyone an opportunity to get a degree. Since the students come from families with fewer financial resources and less familiarity with the higher ed system, and may also come from less academically rigorous schools, Reed says the biggest challenges are finances and academics.