University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe spoke to a crowd of Moberly high school freshmen Friday about the long-term benefits of higher education.
Wolfe is beginning a campaign to put higher education on the minds of younger students in an effort to increase college attendance rates within small towns.
Wolfe returned to his hometown of Moberly to start a conversation with young students about realizing their future goals.
“In 8th and 9th grade, we’ve found that’s when they’re starting to plot out their future and making some of the college decisions and what we’re intending to do is inform them of the options and the importance of higher education," Wolfe said.
Wolfe believes students are interested in hearing about their options, especially those concerning debt avoidance.
“They’ve been in the conversation, they’re obviously thinking about that. The questions they ask kind of validate the misperceptions on the marketplace about the challenges in college, so we have a great opportunity to educate them on that," Wolfe said.
Gena Maclusky, the superintendent of the Moberly Public School District, says the message from Wolfe was just what she wants her students to hear.
“He says the same message we say every day, that we want to make sure every child has a high school diploma and that every opportunity is available to them and that during their time at Moberly, and that they close no doors," Maclusky said.
According to Maclusky, one barrier to the pursuance of higher education is a lack of planning. She believes educators have a responsibility to make every opportunity available to their students.