SCS/SBs 857 & 712 - This act creates the Access Missouri Dual Enrollment Program, which allows students to receive funds during their high school career to pay for dual enrollment credits and dual credit courses from an approved private or public institution of higher education that are directly applicable to a postsecondary associate or bachelor's degree. Payment shall be from the Access Missouri Financial Assistance Fund and shall occur only after successful completion of approved credit hours. To be eligible, students shall enter into a written program commitment agreement at the beginning of the applicant's seventh grade year that includes a personal plan of study, which shall be developed by the student in consultation with the student's parent or guardian, the district's or LEA's Access Missouri Director, and school guidance personnel. Such personal plan of study shall meet certain requirements as described in the act. Students enrolled in a school district or LEA that does not offer courses above 8th grade shall sign the program commitment agreement and develop the personal plan of study in his or her ninth grade year. A student who moves to the district after his or her seventh grade year shall sign the program commitment agreement and develop the personal plan of study by the end of the school year in which he or she enrolls.
An eligible student must be assigned a mentor by the Access Missouri Director in consultation with the student, parent or guardian, and school guidance personnel. The mentor shall advise and consult with the student on effective and successful work habits and career paths.
An eligible student must perform fifty hours of unpaid tutoring or mentoring, of which up to twenty-five percent may include job shadowing.
An eligible student must meet at least one indicator of economic need, as described in the act.
This act requires that each school district or local educational agency (LEA) designate a salaried employee to serve as the director Access Missouri dual enrollment program. Such employee may also serve as the program coordinator for the A+ Schools Program or as a guidance counselor or equivalent. This provision shall not apply to school districts and LEAs that do not offer courses above 8th grade. (Section 173.1109)
This act also creates the "Missouri Dual Enrollment Scholarships Act" to provide dual enrollment and dual credit scholarships to Missouri students.
For tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2017, any taxpayer shall be able to claim a tax credit on an eligible donation made to a public school district or charter school for the sole purpose of funding scholarships for dual enrollment and dual credit courses. The tax credit shall be for fifty percent of the amount of the donation. The tax credit may be carried forward for four years and may be transferred, sold, or assigned.
A school district or charter school may make an application for the tax credit on behalf of taxpayers, and the Department of Economic Development shall verify that the school district or charter school has submitted certain items, as described in the act.
The tax credit program shall sunset after six years unless reauthorized by an act of the General Assembly. (Section 135.2100)
School districts and charter schools shall use any funds received through donations under this act, including gifts, bequests, public or private donations, or donations made through the tax credit program established by this act, only for the purpose of paying for an eligible student's portion of fees for dual enrollment and dual credit courses.
Each district or local educational agency that operates a high school and receives donations under this act shall establish a Missouri Dual Enrollment Scholarship board to determine an applicant's eligibility to receive a scholarship. The board shall be composed of five members: two members of a high school located in the district, two members of an institution of higher education that provides dual enrollment or dual credit opportunities in the district, and one member of the business community.
For a student to be eligible, he or she must: have attended a public high school in the state for at least one year, have earned a minimum grade point average while in high school as determined by the board, make a good faith effort to first secure any available federal funding, have at least a 95% attendance record, maintained a record of good citizenship and avoidance of unlawful use of drugs and alcohol, and meet any other criteria established by the board. (Section 173.2400)