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Ozarks Technical Community College is offering students assistance with technology expenses this fall.
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Ozarks Technical Community College is offering students assistance with technology expenses this fall.

OTC pledges $2M in student incentives

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Ozarks Technical Community College pledged nearly $2 million in incentives to encourage students to return this fall.

The incentives come in the forms of grants and class credits, according to a news release.

“We know the COVID-19 pandemic had an impact on our students’ mental and physical well-being,” OTC Chancellor Hal Higdon said in the release. “Many students lost jobs or were furloughed along with their parents, but we hope these two financial incentives will encourage our students to continue working toward their educational goals.”

OTC spokesperson Laura French said via email the school is paying for the incentives through Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act funds, as well as existing institutional scholarship dollars. Of that total, $1.5 million is through the federal CARES Act, she said. OTC was allocated nearly $8 million from the legislation, according to past reporting.

Through the grant program, students can receive $500 to cover education-related technology needs, such as computers, software and broadband service, according to the release.

As OTC looks to open its campus this fall with social distancing measures in place, an online class credit also is being offered to students. For a student taking at least 12 credit hours this fall, they'll receive a credit covering tuition and fees for one additional three-credit-hour online class during the same semester.

“Students who take a full course load graduate at a higher rate and sooner than students who attend part time,” said Tracy McGrady, OTC provost, in the release. “This scholarship will keep our students moving toward success.”

While OTC is investing to bring students back this fall, the school announced in the spring that early retirement incentives were being offered as a result of less funding from the state. Additionally, the OTC board voted to raise in-district tuition for the first time since the 2018-19 academic year, according to past reporting.

At least one high-profile school official, Richwood Valley President Jeff Jochems, accepted the early retirement incentive plan.

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