Buchanan County Degree Attainment Initiative

Application Instructions

Employees will be nominated by their employers. Employers should identify nominees in their business who they feel can contribute to the long-term success of their business.

Each employee application must be paired with an employer application.

Please read the application instructions prior to completing either application.

Program Summary

$1,000,000 has been awarded to the Buchanan County Degree Attainment Initiative to foster economic growth in the region and the state through training citizens to assume more productive positions within regional targeted industries -

  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Energy Solutions
  • Biosciences
  • Health Sciences & Services
  • Financial Services
  • Logistics & Transportation

Citizens selected to participate will be eligible for up to $7,500 in scholarship support for baccalaureate degrees that support the above industries.

Funds can only be used at Missouri state-assisted colleges.

To the extent possible, baccalaureate degrees should be completed in three years or less from the time a participant is selected.

Although participants may pursue associate degrees, this may only be done if the associate degree is a stepping stone toward earning a baccalaureate degree.


  • Participants must be sponsored by a regional company that is a partner in the Initiative.
  • Participants must pursue a major that is approved by the sponsoring company.
  • Initiative scholarship dollars may only be used for courses in the major – not for electives or general education courses (e.g., dollars may be used for a course in accounting for a business major, a course in engineering for an engineering major, or a course in chemistry for a science major, but not a course in English composition or history or psychology, even though these general education courses are required for the degree).
  • Participants will be required to repay scholarship dollars used for courses for which the participant earns less than a grade of C.
  • Scholarships can cover tuition expenses and fees directly related to approved courses, but cannot cover other expenses such as general fees, parking, books, transportation, living expense, etc.
  • College grades will be reviewed by the Initiative Board each semester.
  • Continued participation each semester is dependent on continued endorsement by the sponsoring company.
  • Scholarship dollars may only be used at Missouri colleges accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. This includes all state colleges and many private not-for-profit colleges. For profit colleges are often not HCL accredited.
  • Non-Missouri residents may participate if they are sponsored by a Missouri company that intends to hire the participant to work at a facility within Missouri.
  • Participants must participate in a mentorship, training, apprenticeship or internship program within the sponsoring company.
  • At least 51% of participants within each partnering company must have incomes that qualify them as "Low or Moderate Income" according to federal guidelines for their county of residence. SEE BELOW

Classification as Low or Moderate Income (LMI) is based on federal poverty standards and family size. For example, a single person living in Buchanan County who claims no dependents and who earns $33,700 or less annually is classified as LMI. Similarly, a family with a total of 8 dependents with a family income of $63,500 or less would be LMI. See the application for income levels associated with each family size from 1 to 8.

  • The application must be filled out fully to be considered.
  • The application must be paired with an application from a sponsoring company.
  • While all participants do not have to be LMI, all applicants MUST supply income information and copies of federal income tax forms so that LMI status can be determined. This is a federal requirement for participation in this program.
  • Funds can only be used at Missouri state-assisted colleges.
  • Unofficial transcripts of past college work are required at the time of application, but official transcripts will eventually be required. Other documents specified by the college will also be required for admission (e.g., proof of high school graduation or GED, test scores). It is the participant's responsibility to determine admissions criteria for the college she/he desires to attend.
  • Even if you do not believe you are eligible for any federal or state financial aid, you must complete a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). This is required as scholarship funds from the Initiative cannot exceed the cost of college attendance that remains after grants and company support are subtracted. See examples below:

Example 1

As a financial example, assume the following:

  • Estimated college credits needed for degree: 45
  • Estimated cost of tuition and fees: $11,250
  • Estimated other costs for degree including books, transportation, supplies: $5,350
  • Total Cost: $16,600
  • Pell Grants: $6,938
  • Company Support: $6,250
  • Cost minus grants and company support: $3,413
  • Maximum scholarship from Initiative: $3,413

Example 1

As another example, assume childcare is required, there is limited company support, and the participant does not qualify for a Pell grant.

In this case, the full $7,500 Initiative scholarship could be awarded, but only if the participant could realistically meet the remaining cost of completing a degree through family resources, loans or other scholarships.

  • Estimated college credits needed for degree: 45
  • Estimated cost of tuition and fees: $11,250
  • Estimated other costs for degree including books, transportation, supplies: $6,100
  • Childcare while in classes: $6,300
  • Total Cost: $22,900
  • Pell Grants: $0
  • Company Support: $2,500
  • Cost minus grants and company support: $20,400
  • Maximum scholarship from Initiative: $7,500
  • Remaining cost to be met from other sources: $11,900

LMI Survey

All individuals applying to this program must complete the LMI Survey Instrument (If you do not live in Buchanan County, please contact Dr. Gordon Mapley (see contact information below) for a form for your county of residence.)

Please note that your signature is optional. Information from this form from all project participants will be combined into a single document.

If you have any questions about this survey, please contact Dr. Gordon Mapley.

This survey must be filled out whether or not you are classified as "low or moderate income."This is a requirement of the federal agency funding this project.

Electronic submissions should be e-mailed to gmapley@missouriwestern.edu

Physical documents should be mailed to:
Gordon Mapley, Ph.D
Dean & Executive Director
Western Institute
Missouri Western State University
4525 Downs Drive
St Joseph MO 64507

ALL applications are to be sent to Dean Mapley, regardless of the college the applicant intends to attend.