A stitch in time saves over $5,000

The A+ Program helps students afford their tuition for college.

Anyone using the vending machines has passed by the A+ office, but not many students actually know how much money a visit to that office could save them.

However students have to earn the free tuition. An A+ student must:

  • be a U.S. citizen,
  • enter into a written agreement with his/her high school prior to graduation,
  • attend a designated A+ high school for three consecutive years immediately prior to graduation,
  • graduate with an overall GPA of 2.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale,
  • have at least a 95 percent attendance record overall for grades 9-12,
  • perform at least 50 hours of unpaid tutoring or mentoring of which up to 25 percent may include job shadowing,
  • maintain a record of good citizenship and avoid the unlawful use of drugs and/or alcohol, and
  • beginning with the high school senior class of 2015, have achieved a score of proficient or advanced on the Algebra I End of Course Exam.

The end result of that attendance and service is a savings of approximately $5,280, the cost of 60 credit hours at St. Louis Community College.

“The A+ Program is about helping other students and getting rewarded for it,” Audrey Taylor (11) said. “The students get rewarded by being able to go to a community college for free.”

The benfits of A+ particpation extend beyond the tuition dollars.

“The original intention was to help students with their studies toward curricular goals. If you get help, you are going to do better in school and your grades are going to be better,” Mr. Craig Kennedy, A+ coordinator, said. “What we have seen happen is that there’s a character element to it that we really didn’t expect. The bonds that are forming from the students that are getting help and the sense of accomplishment that it gives the A+ students are a collateral benefit that we really didn’t see coming.”

Gregory Wilsey (12) wishes he had signed up.

“It is a really good program,” Wilsey said. “I waited too long to sign up, and by now it is too late.”

The qualifications for the A+ Program are not anything a student can accomplish in a year since the 50 community services hours take some planning.

Participants find the experience rewarding.

“Students actually have something to look forward to if they join the program instead of nothing to work for, try for, or get good grades for,” Samantha Castillo (9) said.

The program keeps participants on track.

“I have a goal for myself,” Megan Senf (9) said. “I work towards that goal and have the A+ Program to help me reach it.”

The tuition dollars A+ participation promises doesn’t hold swayover everyone.

“I think it is a good idea,” Taylor said. “I already have college paid for, so I didn’t need to join, but for those that don’t, the A+ Program is like a godsend.”

As students walk by the vending machines, maybe more may take notice and walk through door towards an easier future.