The University of Missouri in Columbia is attacking the high cost of a college education with plans to guarantee payment of all tuition and fees for every student who qualifies for a federal Pell Grant. In addition, there will be more financial help for students who qualify for the Honors College.

A university spokesperson said these plans have been in the works for some time and aren’t in response to the tough competition from Missouri State University in Springfield. It no doubt is in response to MU’s declining enrollment the past couple of years.

Missouri State has been very successful in attracting undergraduate students, with 80 percent of its enrollment students from Missouri.

The new program at Mizzou, the Missouri Land Grant Compact, is open only to Missouri residents. 

MU estimates more than 3,500 students, or more than 10 percent of the student population, will benefit from the new program. Federal, state and university resources will fund the new program. It is expected to cost about $5 million a year, with $3.5 million for the Missouri Land Grants and $1.5 million for the Honors grants.

The university at Columbia’s main competition for students is Missouri State, which has been growing at a steady rate for several years. Competition for students is a healthy situation. It is intense among all colleges and universities. Mizzou has been the flagship public university in the  state and Missouri State is challenging that leadership. Duplication of programs, especially on the graduate level, should be avoided. That is costly.

The cost of higher education has run out of bounds. The debts some students have after graduation are astronomical. Colleges and universities don’t like to hear it, but more high school graduates should be directed to vocational training. Good paying jobs await students who graduate from vocational and technical schools. Students in this area have the opportunity for this type of training at East Central College and at the Four Rivers Career Center in Washington.

There is a severe shortage in this country, and in this area, of workers with technical skills.

To be successful in life does not always require a college education. We don’t have to look far for proof of that statement.