A+ Alternative

A+ Program, community college has many benefits


Ryan Winzen

Senior A+ tutor Kyleigh Barnett works with sophomore Kayla Robertson and freshman Bryana Robertson in Intro to Theatre class.

The primary goal of many seniors is to attend a four-year college. While there is nothing wrong with attending a four-year college, there are other options for college. Four-year colleges can become pricey and leave students stuck in debt years after they graduate.

Students can attend a two-year community college, then transfer their credits to another school to finish their degree. During the 2020-2021 school year, 7 million students were enrolled in a community college according to the Community College Research Center. 

Community college can still be pricey. STLCC costs $116.50 a credit hour. Students need 60 credit hours to graduate, which brings their total to $6990 for two years. Fortunately, South has a program that helps students get two free years at a 2-year college.

The A+ Program is a program offered to high school students that allows them the ability to earn two free years at a community college as long as they meet some requirements. The requirements for the A+ Program include having a 2.5 or higher GPA, a 95% attendance rate for all of high school, performing 50 hours of tutoring/community service, and being enrolled in an A+ high school for two years prior to graduation. Even though students join A+ as juniors or seniors, they must retain the GPA and attendance requirements throughout their four years of high school.

I think that the A Plus Program helps students who want to attend college, but don’t want to be stuck in student loan debt for the rest of their life. The average college graduate has $37,358 in student loan debt. With the A+ Program, participants will get half of their college paid for. College isn’t going to get any cheaper and it’s a good idea to save all the money you can. Two years at Mizzou costs around $49,080.

The A+ Program works to motivate students. When you sign up for the A+ Program, you don’t just get two free years of community college. Students have to meet the criteria involving attendance and GPA. This helps to keep students motivated, if they want the two free years, then they have to keep up with their school work and attend class. 

In addition, students must have 50 hours of tutoring/community service to stay in the program. When I first signed up for the A+ Program, I thought this was going to be the most difficult part to complete. Fortunately, the school offers many different programs for students to get their 50 hours. Students can actually sign up to tutor during the school year in a teacher’s classroom, or there are events throughout the year like the rake and Run where you can earn hours. 

If you’re a student who wants to attend college but doesn’t want to break the bank in the process, then sign up for the A+ Program. It will help you get two free years of college and serves as a motivator throughout high school.  

It’s not too late for sophomores to sign up for the A+ Program. January is the time to register. If you’re interested, then fill out the online application.