The Missouri A+ Schools Program includes both school improvement (A+ school designations) and college access (A+ scholarships) components (RSMo 160.545). One requirement for A+ scholarship eligibility is graduating from an A+ high school with at least a 2.5 grade point average. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected student mental health, learning and college enrollment behaviors. House Bills 1067 & 1141 would change the GPA eligibility requirements for the A+ Scholarship program so that students can use their highest available GPA from 2019-20 or 2020-21 to meet the 2.5 eligibility standard.
- In March 2020, the Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development (DHEWD) issued temporary flexibility for the GPA eligibility requirement, but this guidance was not renewed for the fall 2020 semester.
- Remote instruction during the COVID-19 pandemic is associated with learning losses, especially for younger students. Negative mental health outcomes have increased among adolescents in response to COVID-19, which may also impact academic performance.
- Enrollment in public, two-year colleges has significantly decreased between fall 2019 and 2020. Historically, A+ scholarships have increased enrollment at two-year institutions.