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Diploma Plus program aims to give more KCK students shot at college

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- The Kansas City, Kansas School district is fighting to keep a program aimed at giving high school students a shot at college. The district is hoping to better prepare students for college and careers with its Diploma Plus program.

"Being able to take some of the college classes that I need now, it will help me financially, so it won`t take as long as it would if I went in without having any college credits at all," said Aunjnae White, a senior at Wyandotte High School.

White is one of many students participating in the program. She wants to go to medical school and become a cardiologist, so she says this program will help her.

"The class of 2021, which is last year`s sixth graders, when they graduate, they will have a requirement - not only will they need a high school diploma, which of course, every kid needs to graduate," said David Smith, the spokesman for the Kansas City, Kansas, School District. "We`re going to expect one of three things in addition to that."

Smith says in order to graduate each student will be expected to have at least one year of college completed, some kind of technical degree or credential, or at least a 21 on the ACT.

"Having some college paid for when you`re growing up in poverty helps makes college that much more accessible," Smith added. "Having a technical degree or credential means they can access a job that`s more than minimum wage."

Smith says this will open the door to scholarships and give students a real shot.

"Colleges are coming and saying, you based on your grades and your ACT scores, qualify for admission and this much money and we`re willing to commit to that now, you`ve got to complete the year and finish strong, but if you do that, here`s money that`s going to be available for you," Smith says.

"I think that`s sort of the motivation to help you," White added.

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