February 22, 2005 – Posted at 5:39 p.m. CST
BUTLER COUNTY – A Region 8 College and a local high school superintendent are wroking to give students an opportunity for higher education. More than 70 high schools in Southeast Missouri are participating in the MAP Scholarship Program and it's helping send kids to Three Rivers Community College.
"A lot of students are in the same boat as me," said senior Jared Hancock, "They have to make their decision on financial reasons, so any little bit will help."
Hancock is getting ready for college this fall. He'll be getting additional money to go to Three Rivers Community College that he wasn't expecting.
The MAP Rental Books Scholarship is the first of it's kind in the state and in fact it was spearheaded in Region 8. The president of TRCC and the superintendent at Twin Rivers High School are responsible for getting this project off the ground.
"This is one way that directly ties back to 'No Child Left Behind' and to a state test, in our case the MAP test, and to student accountability," said Twin Rivers Superintendent Andy Arbeitman, "So it's a win-win situation for everybody involved."
Students start MAP testing the first week in April and say now, they just might try harder.
"Before we didn't really care anything about it, we didn't think there was any kind of reward or consequence, so we didn't really try. We did as best we could," said senior Whitney Sentell.
"Luckily, I did get the score where I qualified for the scholarship, but that was just luck, because I didn't really have an incinitive," said Hancock, "But from now on, they'll know they have that to get, so they'll have the incentive to try a lot harder and therefore the map scores will raise."
"Offering free pizza and Coke doesn't work anymore," said Randall E. Lee, TRCC Vice President of Student Affairs, "So now we've provided the thing will work, and that's money through our MAP Rental Book Scholarship."
And educators hope that this will open the college door to more students.
"I think it defiantly gives them a boost, it gives them a goal to shoot at, it makes it possible. A lot of times they are first generation college students, in the beginning they may feel that college is out of the way for them and that it's not something that's feasible for them and so that's something that makes it possible," said Twin Rivers Counselor Christina Miller.
"This is something that every student in our district can qualify for, a financial scholarship and we pay for the test every year," said Arbeitman.
"There's no application process, there's no competition. If they qualify they get it," said Lee.
And the opportunities are not stopping in Missouri, administrators hope to spread south.
"We've been considering looking into the possibility of extending a similar type of scholarship to what I've been told is called the benchmark test in Arkansas," said Arbeitman.