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Graduation Speech : High School Program

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During our meeting on March 23th, we discussed options to increase enrollment in the Early Degree Program (EDP). However, we quickly realized that low-income EDP students face a financial hardship when attending college without being eligible for the FAFSA. At this meeting, we decided that the best way to enroll more EDP students is to offer additional financial aid.

Current Situation

It is Missouri State University-West Plains’ (MSU-WP) goal to provide all eligible Early Degree Program (EDP) students with the opportunity to simultaneously earn an Associate Degree in General Studies and a high school diploma.

Each year West Plains High School (WPHS) sends out an invitation via mail to the parents of sophomores who are eligible
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Research to explore Financial Aid Opportunities for Low-Income Early Degree Students

A low-income Early Degree Student’s Associate Degree could be funded by several sources of financial aid. Exploring these funding options requires research by officials of Missouri State University-West Plains. The sources of funding and the respective offices which would be responsible for the research are:

• Federal, state, or local grants to be explored by the Office of Financial Aid.
• Institutional or privately funded scholarships to be explored by the Office of Development. To meet these objectives, I have researched whether other two-year community colleges have provided financial aid to their Early-Degree students. There were no federal funds available for those two-year community colleges. However, there is a possibility of funding from state or local grants for MSU-WP, as well as a possibility of funding from scholarships. My initial research produced two action items:

• Interview the representative of the Office of Financial Aid.
• Interview the representative of the Office of Development.

The interviews were conducted to obtain information about the current financial aid process at MSU-WP. Based on the results of those interviews, the Office of Financial Aid and the Office of Development requires authorization and time for further research. Consequently, an allotment of research time is necessary to look for additional sources
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