MDHE’s Advanced Placement Initiative Grant to reward high-scoring students

Missouri residents can receive a $500 grant for math and science scores of three or higher.

Missouri students now have an incentive besides gaining college credit hours to perform well on math and science Advanced Placement exams.

The Missouri Department of Higher Education announced Friday the availability of the Advanced Placement Incentive Grant, funded by the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority. Proposed by Gov. Jay Nixon during his state address in January, the grant is designed to reward high school math and science performance for students who attend Missouri post-secondary institutions.

“We know there are a lot of well-paying job opportunities available in those fields,” MDHE spokeswoman Kathy Love said. “The grant is to be an incentive for students who have good scores to take advantage of the grant and attend college in Missouri.”

The grant provides a one-time $500 donation to students who receive threes or higher on two math and/or science AP tests while attending a Missouri public high school. Students also must complete an application for the grant, produce proof of their scores and receive an award through the Access Missouri Financial Assistance Program or the A+ Scholarship Program in the academic year in which the grant is awarded.

“There are other programs in other states that have similar add-on (funds),” said Leroy Wade, MDHE Assistant Commissioner for Financial Aid. “I think that here, it’s a way to help make this program more effective.”

Any college student regardless of year or major can apply for a grant for the 2011-12 academic year until June 1, 2012, Wade said.

Grants will be awarded directly to the post-secondary institutions and will go toward any of the recipients' college-related expenses.

Freshman Amy Schmidt from Lake St. Louis said she thinks the promise of money might make students more motivated to take AP courses and exams.

“I didn’t take the calculus AP test, but (the grant) would have given me an incentive to, had I known about it,” she said.

Schmidt also said she thinks the benefits might impact the number of students who major in math and science fields.

“If people had benefits, more people might look into it,” she said.

More information about applying for the Advanced Placement Incentive Grant can be found on the MDHE website.

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