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The Senate bill was intended to encourage Missouri students to plan for their futures and take advantage of opportunities

Missouri lawmakers and educational organizations were excited about a plan to encourage students to think about their postsecondary futures and apply for federal student aid.

SB 136, sponsored by Sen. Karla Eslinger, R-Wasola, would require the education department to institute a process for students to complete an individual career and academic plan, also called an ICAP. Under the bill, parents would be involved in the ICAP process and it would be reviewed annually. During the student’s senior year, they would make a statement about their postsecondary plans, which aren’t “set in stone,” Eslinger said, but the statement requirement ensures they make plans for their future.

It would also require school districts to set up a process to help students complete a FAFSA. Eslinger said he doesn’t mandate completion of the FAFSA, but provides the opportunity.

In Missouri, Eslinger said, $71.3 million was left on the table by 2021 graduates.

“And that’s just money they could access, if they were aware of it, to support their post-secondary plans,” Eslinger told the Senate education committee during a hearing.

The bill was enthusiastically welcomed by a committee member.

“This could be the biggest bill we could pass this year,” said Senator Greg Razer, D-Kansas City.

It has also received support from educational organizations including the Council on Public Higher Education, the Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development, the Missouri Council of School Administrators, and Aligned, a non-profit coalition of entrepreneurs dedicated to improving education in Kansas and Missouri.

“We wouldn’t want any child to miss out on the opportunity to go to college simply thinking they don’t have the resources,” said Aligned’s Stacey Preis.

The bill also received some opposition from Missouri residents who were concerned about DESE’s role as the originator of the process outlined in the bill.

The committee also heard SB 163, sponsored by Senator Mary Elizabeth Coleman, R-Arnold, which would allow companies to offer training that would increase the amount of money an employee would make and the state would provide a portion of the income tax increase as a credit. tax to the employer.

Funding would come from general revenue, subject to appropriations.

“The idea is that we’re trying to encourage employers to create opportunities for their employees to substantially increase their income potential, and that the state would share the cost of doing so,” he said.

In Executive Session, the committee approved SB 40, sponsored by Sen. Holly Thompson Rehder, R-Sikeston, which would require background checks for adult students in schools during school hours, marijuana facility employees, and facility workers of residential care.

He also approved a replacement for SB 122, sponsored by Senator Karla May, D-St. Louis, which would allow students to be exempted from school for mental health or behavioral issues with the appropriate documentation. The committee approved a replacement for SB 175, sponsored by Senator Andrew Koening, R-Manchester, which would prohibit employers from applying for a work permit for the employment of 14-16 year olds, although the permit of the parents would still be required.

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