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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., May 10, 2018 – Members of the Cape Girardeau Public Schools Class of 2020 will get the opportunity to jump-start their future beginning this fall in a new Early College Program in which they may pursue an Associate of Arts or the CORE 42 statewide general education curriculum simultaneously with their high school diploma.

Officials with the Cape Girardeau Public Schools, Southeast Missouri State University and Three Rivers College (TRC) today announced the new program to be offered at Cape College Center (CCC) for select currently enrolled high school students in the Cape Girardeau Public Schools. The agreement being piloted next school year paves the way for select juniors to choose to spend their junior and senior years of high school in the program at the Cape College Center. The students will earn an Associate of Arts or the CORE 42 through coursework offered by TRC and Southeast at the same time they complete their high school degree.

CORE 42 is Missouri’s new 42-credit hour general education curriculum. Courses taken anywhere within the Missouri public higher education system are transferable to any two- or four-year Missouri public institution.

The Cape College Center is located in the Cape Career and Technology Center (CTC) at 1080 S. Silver Springs Road in Cape Girardeau. The CCC is a partnership between Southeast Missouri State University, Three Rivers College and Mineral Area College, and is an open enrollment higher education center, providing community college-type services to the citizens of Cape Girardeau County and the CTC service region. At Cape College Center, students get the benefit of a college education with personalized service; a great start to college at an affordable cost, allowing their financial aid to go further; and help in achieving college success.

“The early college model provides students an opportunity to access challenging and rigorous course work while in high school. It also has the benefit of allowing students to complete a significant portion of their college course work, reducing the expense of post-secondary education,” said Dr. Tony Robinson, deputy superintendent of secondary education with the Cape Girardeau Public Schools.

“We want to remove any barriers students may have regarding college by allowing our students the opportunity to participate in the early college model,” he added. “This is an essential program to help first-generation college students and all participating students experience greater success in college and graduate with a degree.”

Dr. Carlos Vargas, president of Southeast Missouri State University, said the University is excited about the potential of this partnership.

“We believe the Early College Program offered at the Cape College Center will create better opportunities and access for students, reduce their time to complete a degree and offer a more flexible strategy for high school students wanting to get a head start on their post-secondary education,” Vargas said. “We are committed to student success, and we believe this program will significantly help jump-start students on their path toward career-readiness.”

Seth Ward, Southeast director of dual credit and dual enrollment, added, “Early College Programs, like the partnership between the Cape College Center and Cape Girardeau Public Schools, are a great way to provide increased college access to students, and still provide the support many students need in their transition from high school to college. It is about providing students the opportunity to reach their goals, and that is what I hope we can achieve through this partnership.”

Dr. Wesley Payne, president of Three Rivers College said, “Three Rivers is very excited about this new facet of the CCC Partnership. By providing early access to the high-quality educational courses provided through the CCC, these students will be able to jump-start their future and build an excellent foundation that will serve them for the rest of their lives.”

Students must be at least 16 years old, receive approval to participate from the Cape Girardeau Public School principal, have at least a 2.5 high school grade point average and take a placement test to be eligible. Counselors identified a group of eligible juniors who were invited to apply. The students have been selected for the pilot program beginning in the fall. The program will be open to all juniors to apply in the 2019-2020 school year.

Participating students will enroll in 15 credit hours each semester offered by TRC and Southeast at the CCC. The classes will be part of the regular Cape College Center schedule and Cape Central students will be integrated with other college students.

As part of the agreement, the Cape Girardeau Public Schools will cover students’ tuition in the Early College Program. The Cape Girardeau Public Schools will pay their tuition at Southeast’s dual credit rate, which is currently $95 per credit hour. Students will be responsible for covering textbook rental fees and supplies.

Participating students will meet regularly with a Cape Public Schools counselor and will receive academic advising from both the CCC and the Cape Public Schools. CCC faculty will report attendance for the high school students.

Students may use Disability Services, the Center for Writing Excellence and Kent Library at Southeast. Program participants may use tutoring services offered at CCC.

For more information on the program, contact Seth Ward at (573) 986-6176 or

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