JOPLIN, MO.--- Governor Jay Nixon visits Joplin High School today to announce the expansion of its Innovation Campus initiative. Now, Joplin High School juniors and seniors will have the opportunity to take courses that earn them an associates degree by high school graduation.
"Innovation Campus brings colleges, universities, area businesses and local school districts together to offer accelerated degree programs that prepare students for careers in high demand fields. It's a simple and powerful idea," said Jay Nixon, Missouri Governor.
The Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce, Missouri Southern State University and Crowder College partnered with Joplin High School and Franklin Technology Center to help qualifying students pay for these courses through grants. Starting this fall, students will have more than 40 courses to choose from towards their college degree.
"Students that may not of thought they had a chance to go to college, can now get a two year degree or an associates degree while they're still in high school," said Jeff Flowers, Joplin School Board President.
Governor Nixon says with this new agreement, students have the chance to cut the time it takes to earn a college degree and reduce student debt. Joplin High School Junior Chloe Bellamy is a part of the Innovation Campus program and says by the time she graduates from high school, she could be able to knock out one whole semester of college, which will save her a lot of money.
"It's a lot cheaper in high school going ahead and taking these courses rather than it would be to take them your freshman year in college," said Chloe Bellamy, Joplin High School Junior.
"If my daughter could have taken the duel credit courses and came out of high school with an associates degree, it would have saved us a lot of money and I'm sure there are a lot of families in that situation," said Flowers.
"I think it's a great opportunity for students to have the chance to go ahead and ready themselves for college before they get to that point," said Bellamy.
Nixon launched the Innovation Campus program in 2012, granting eight other Missouri schools $1 million dollars. Last semester, 29 Joplin High School and Franklin Technology students qualified for the program, enrolling in 188 dual credit hours.