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MAC receives grant to promote healthcare education

PARK HILLS – Mineral Area College recently received a grant that will not only expand its dual-enrollment science offerings to area high school students this fall, but will help upgrade area high school science labs.

MAC’s proposal to shorten the time it takes high school students to complete college-level health professions was funded by the Missouri Foundation for Health, an independent philanthropic foundation dedicated to improving the health of people in the region. The $291,709 award will be used to upgrade four area high school science labs, pay for instructor travel costs and other program start-up costs involved with the project.

Arcadia Valley R-II, North St. Francois County R-I, Potosi R-III, West St. Francois County R-IV and MAC’s Fredericktown Outreach Center will serve as hubs that offer MAC’s General Biology Lab and/or Introduction to Chemistry Labs on their high school campuses. The online courses are available to high school students from any school in the service area as long as they are able to attend a lab section at one of the participating hubs and meet MAC’s admission criteria. Some outlying schools may also be able to provide transportation to partnering high school hubs.

Pam Watkins, the grant writer at MAC who oversaw the application process, said the science courses will be accepted as high school credit as part of a dual enrollment agreement with the high school partners.

“We want to increase the number of students considering healthcare professions by making it easier for high school students to get their prerequisite college credit science courses while attending high school,” she said. “Without funding from the Missouri Foundation for Health, partner high school science labs were not equipped to conduct college-level experimentation, meaning students had to travel to MAC for instruction. For many rural high school students, transportation is an insurmountable obstacle.”

Many participating high school students will qualify for scholarships that will pay two-thirds of their tuition. Students can check this spring with their high school counselors about scholarship opportunities and about getting the science courses added to their schedule for the fall term.

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