By Jeff Murphy, February 9, 2016
WARRENSBURG, MO – In a ceremony at Warrensburg High School today, University of Central Missouri and Warrensburg R-VI School District leaders announced a new partnership to provide students a guided path – the Innovation Track – to a high school diploma and the potential to complete a four-year college degree within three years after their high school graduation.
“We’re excited about the opportunity to collaborate with the Warrensburg R-VI School District to make the Innovation Track possible,” said Charles Ambrose, UCM president. “Through initiatives such as The Missouri Innovation Campus (The MIC) in Lee’s Summit, that was initiated in 2012, the university is partnering with public schools, community colleges, and businesses to create programs that address issues such as college debt load, accelerated degrees, and opportunities for internships that will provide students with job-ready skills.”
“The Innovation Track allows us to bring some aspects of The MIC model to the local community, specifically a pathway to complete a four-year degree in less time, while reducing the cost of a higher education,” he said. “Although there is much more exploration needed, as education partners, we hope to work with the school district and the Warrensburg community to consider and create other opportunities such as internships to help better prepare students for the workplace.”
The Innovation Track between WHS and UCM provides a guided pathway for students to complete up to 30 hours of college credit while still in high school. By doing so, they could potentially earn a four-year degree approximately one year earlier than students who pursue a more traditional education path.
Ambrose said the pathway focuses on dual credit courses, which enable students to obtain college credit and high school credit at the same time. Through the program, students will save up to 60 percent on their college tuition per dual credit course taken during high school, although they will incur full tuition and applicable fees for courses they take at UCM after they graduate from high school. Additionally, there is no application fee for dual credit students, and, in some cases, their textbooks will be provided for free.
Other benefits for Innovation Track students include access through their UCM identification card to a variety of cultural and sporting events at the university, and access to student support services such as the James C. Kirkpatrick Library, The Learning Commons-Writing Lab for tutoring and supplemental instruction, and to campus computer labs.
“We are committed to a program that offers a seamless path to a college degree, and providing personal support from staff members at both UCM and WHS to accomplish this goal,” Ambrose said
Scott Patrick, superintendent of the Warrensburg R-VI School District, applauds the benefits of accelerated four-year degrees, and the opportunity to lessen the burden of college debt on students and their families.
“Providing increased opportunities through the Innovation Track alone would be more than generous, but UCM achieves even greater benefit for our students by offering these courses at a fraction of the cost for traditional students.”
He added, “One of our goals as a school district is to provide our students with the best possible opportunities to learn and grow. The Innovation Track program in conjunction with the University of Central Missouri certainly accomplishes this important goal.”
Innovation Track courses are taught by faculty members with advanced degrees in their areas of expertise, and courses incorporate college content preparing students for future demands and their transition to college after high school graduation.
Dual credit tuition assistance is available to eligible students through the WeMET Consortium and the UCM Dual Credit office at UCM. First-time, full-time, degree-seeking freshmen who begin the Innovation Track in the summer of 2016 or later will be considered for a $500 scholarship during their final semester at UCM.
Students who want to know more about the Innovation Track are encouraged to visit with their high school counselor or contact UCM’s Dual Credit office at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit ucmo.edu/innovationtrack.