UMKC Announces Scholarships, Early College Program to Help KC Kids Access College

Participating students could save thousands on a college degree
Jayla Williams stands with her hands on her hips smiling with the UMKC campus in the background

The University of Missouri-Kansas City has launched new partnerships with Kansas City Public Schools and North Kansas City Public Schools that will save families thousands of dollars on a college degree. UMKC will provide automatic, renewable scholarships for any student who enrolls from those two districts. Furthermore, students from both districts can earn college credit on the UMKC campus before high school graduation for added savings.

The initiative is a huge win for the Kansas City community – and for students and their families.

“As Kansas City’s university, we’re committed to increasing college access to students here at home,” said Kristi Holsinger, senior vice provost for student success at UMKC. “Through this partnership, students will save money, earn their degree sooner after high school graduation and go on to serve our community through rewarding careers.”

UMKC has introduced a new, automatic $1,500 scholarship for up to five years for any student from the KCPS or NKC school districts. The scholarship is stackable – meaning it can also be combined with any other award.

And UMKC’s Early College Academy allows eligible high school students to attend classes on campus during the school day. It is open to qualifying juniors and seniors at KCPS and qualifying seniors at NKC. Students earn both high school and college credits from their UMKC courses. Tuition, at a reduced rate, is covered by KCPS and NKC.

“The Early College Academy model makes so much sense for our scholars,” Jennifer Collier, Ed.D., KCPS interim superintendent, said. “We know partnering with UMKC will open doors for KCPS students.”

Jayla Williams is one of the first KCPS students to participate in the program. Williams, who is in her first semester, said within the first few weeks she has already had a chance to connect with her professors and meet friends in her classes.

“It’s been an easy adjustment because my school prepared me,” said Williams. “I’m doing something that many people don’t get to do. I’m doing something that is bettering my future.”

Jayla Williams walks down the sidewalk on the UMKC campus with her backpack and purse. In the background you can see UMKC signs.

Her mom, Janese Williams, said she is proud of Jayla and what her participation will provide.

“It means opportunity. It means elevation. She’s only 16 and she’s a college student,” said Williams. “I love that this is an opportunity that kids in Kansas City get to do. To give them a step ahead is priceless.”

Jayla and Janese Williams
Jayla and Janese Williams


North Kansas City Schools College and Career Readiness Assistant Director Shannon Gilliland said the new partnership will increase students’ course options and help them acclimate to college life.

“This will be an opportunity to learn how to navigate a large academic environment, while still having guidance as a high school student,” said Gilliland. “UMKC has about 16,000 students and getting comfortable in this environment can help our students gain confidence.”

UMKC offers more than 125 undergraduate programs, with small class sizes and real-world experiences to help students gain practical knowledge to prepare them for careers. In addition, its location in Kansas City provides strong relationships with some of the region’s top employers for internship and job opportunities.

“We are excited to see our students take advantage of the exceptional educational experience UMKC provides,” said North Kansas City Schools superintendent, Dan Clemens, Ed.D.

Students in the Early College Academy will have access to support services such as Academic Advising, Academic Support and Mentoring, Career Services and the Financial Wellness Center.

Early college programs have been shown to have a positive impact on student performance both in high school and in college, according to a 2020 policy report from the American Institutes for Research.

Additionally, the report indicates early college programs have lasting impact on communities by increasing college degree attainment, individual earning potential and tax revenue. In fact, UMKC alumni contributed $7.8 billion to Missouri’s economy in 2021, according to the university’s February 2022 Economic Impact Report.


Published: Oct 11, 2022

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