Missouri Southern announces a new scholarship program for students who want to attend the new KCU medical school being built in Joplin. The scholarship funds are coming from an outside tornado relief fund that's being closed.
MSSU officials made the announcement today inside the university's alumni center. $700,000 are left over from the "Joplin Tomorrow" organization, formed after the Joplin tornado to accept donations and provide low-interest loans to businesses recovering from the tornado.
Those $700,000 will be given to a new scholarship program called "Yours to Lose." The money was collected through donations intended for tornado relief, but Missouri Southern says the state attorney general has OK'ed the use of that money for this other purpose.
The scholarship program will allow 25 students to be admitted into KCU while first completing a three-year bachelor's degree in biology at MSSU.
"When you apply to that program, and you're accepted into that program, you are simultaneously accepted to both Missouri Southern, as an undergraduate, and to Kansas City University for medical school. So for most pre-med students, there's a lot of pressure about taking the MCAT, applying, where am i going to apply, will I get in? That pressure is all relieved. And as long as you maintain your grades, and you work your way through the program, that early acceptance to medical school is yours to lose," says Brad Hodson with the Missouri Southern Foundation.
University officials are soliciting more funds for the Yours to Lose scholarship program to fund the program into future years, and well past the 25 students who have already been accepted for the upcoming fall semester.
"It's a three-year customized curriculum, just for the Yours to Lose students. And so if they stay on track, they can graduate with an undergraduate degree in biology in three years and move immediately into medical school. Now, that's shaving a year off the traditional track of a pre-med student. Would get you out in two, your residency and into being a doctor a year earlier," says Hodson.
Joplin Tomorrow organization officials say they decided to give leftover money to MSSU because of dwindling applications for post-tornado relief.
"We will put together institutional aid, honors college funding, other private scholarships to make sure that we're as competitive as possible with other universities. Financial aid packages for these high-achieving students," says Hodson.
KCU-Joplin is scheduled to open its doors this spring.
Joplin Tomorrow has announced that it will transfer its remaining $700,000 in assets to the Missouri Southern Foundation, with the funds to be used – as they become available – for scholarships for future medical students enrolled in the innovative “Yours to Lose - Advanced Medical School Acceptance Program” at Missouri Southern State University.
Joplin Tomorrow was formed following the devastating tornado of May 22, 2011. This non-profit corporation was developed with the backing of Sen. John C. Danforth to accept donations and provide low-interest loans to businesses recovering from the disaster. Approximately $1.6 million was raised from donors across the country, and 24 loans were approved by the Joplin Tomorrow Board of Directors for businesses to rebuild and expand.
As loans were repaid, Joplin Tomorrow began to accumulate assets, said Dwight Douglas, president of the Joplin Tomorrow Board. In 2015, Joplin Tomorrow donated $750,000 to the capital campaign to build the Joplin campus for the Kansas City University School of Medicine and Biosciences (KCU), citing the potential for the new medical school to enhance Joplin’s economic future.
“Now, five years after the tornado, Joplin Tomorrow has completed the work it set out to do,” said Douglas. “The question now became one of how to best utilize the remaining assets.”
The five-member board – which includes Douglas, Glenn Brown, J.D. Seller, Mike Palmer and Mike Pence – voted to transfer the remaining assets to the Missouri Southern Foundation to fund scholarships for students in the “Yours to Lose” program.
“Yours to Lose” is an exclusive partnership between Missouri Southern and KCU that will allow up to 25 students to be admitted into KCU at the same time as they are accepted into the pre-med program at MSSU. Students will earn their bachelor’s degree in biology in three years at MSSU and begin their first year of medical school at the Joplin campus.
“We’re very grateful that Joplin Tomorrow has decided to invest in Missouri Southern students who will participate in the ‘Yours to Lose’ program,” said Dr. Brad Hodson, executive vice president of Missouri Southern. “As future physicians, they will play a role in the economic vitality of the Joplin area. This university continues to strengthen its standing as the health sciences leader in the region, and we are thankful to this organization for their support.”
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