President recognizes local college prep program

President recognizes local college prep program

LEE’S SUMMIT, MO (KCTV) – President Barack Obama said Thursday he wants to make sure college is affordable to all Americans.

He recognized the Missouri Innovation Campus program for its cost-cutting path for college-bound high school students.

Tristan Ungerer, 16, is a junior at Grain Valley High School, but a freshman at Metropolitan Community College-Longview.

“We’ve had to look everywhere. Before this I had to look at colleges and try to keep it close to home and keep it cheap. Now this has really opened up my opportunities,” Ungerer said.

Students like Ungerer who are accepted into the Missouri Innovation Campus will graduate high school with a free associate’s degree with only two years left for a bachelor’s degree, cutting college and the costs in half. All the while they are interning at a local business.

“This is really ideal for those students who may be of limited means,” MCC Chancellor Mark James said.

Obama used the partnership among the MCC-Longview president, the Lee’s Summit superintendent and the president of the University of Central Missouri as an example of ways to make higher education attainable for every student.

“It’s advanced, it’s innovative, it incorporates a working job with an early college experience,” James said.

It’s also a path to good-paying jobs in the engineering and computer science industries.

“Since you’ve been trained in the internship, whoever has hired you might very well want to keep you,” Ungerer said.

The program started two years ago, so the first group of 17 just entered their first year of college, which is really their junior year.

Below is a full list of school districts participating in the MIC program:

Blue Springs


Grain Valley


Hickman Mills




Lee’s Summit

Lone Jack


Pleasant Hill



Story by Bonyen Lee, News Reporter, KCTV 5