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Lobbyist Money Help  

House Democrats announce plan for tuition assistance

February 6, 2006
By: Dan Frumson
State Capital Bureau

Soon, your child may be able to receive tuition assistance from the state, so long as your child remains drug free. Dan Frumson has more from the State Capitol.

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House Democrats say while the governor claims to have championed education in Missouri, they themselves are helping poor Missouri students go to college.

House Bill 1643 would establish the 21st Century Scholars program.

The program encourages low-income students in 8th grade along with a parent to make a pledge that they will stay away from alcohol or drugs.

Once they graduate high school, the students then become eligible for guaranteed tuition assistance for state universities.

The bill's sponsor is Democrat Rachel Storch of St. Louis.

She says student who qualify could still attend private Missouri schools.

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"It's full tuition to our public universities. It's a lesser amount for a private university. This program would not pick up the full cost of a private university tuition. It caps out at an amount no higher than our public university tuition.

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Storch also says the students would be on the honors system in regards to their drug use, and that they would not be tested for drugs.

House Democrat Barbara Fraser, a former school teacher, says she supports this proposal, and most school teachers will as well.

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"Absolutely! Because I mean every teacher would love to hear that kids are going to college. I mean again, we have a focus in the world on a college education. And I think to have students who are not well off, poor students able to go to college and to have that as a dream, it's just a wonderful idea."

Republican House members Jane Cunningham and Susan Phillips, chairpersons of the Elementary & Secondary Education Committee and the Children and Families Committee respectively, could not be reached for comment.

From the state capitol, I'm Dan Frumson.