Fast Track is a new financial aid program designed to address workforce needs by encouraging adults to pursue a degree or an industry-recognized credential in an area designated as high need. Legislation was recently passed through the General Assembly to establish this program. Upon the Governor's signature, the legislation would require the Coordinating Board for Higher Education (CBHE) to approve annually a list of instructional programs. Work is underway to identify the approved list for program implementation in fall 2019.

 

Fast Track eligibility will be restricted to instructional programs that lead to employment in high-need occupations as designated by the CBHE. Public comment was collected until May 15, 2019, on a preliminary list of high-need occupations and program categories. Commenters were asked to review the Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) PDF document and Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) PDF document lists, and the methodology below of how these lists were created. It is important to note that these lists are preliminary, and based on feedback and further analysis, may be modified.

 

How the list was developed

The MDHE identified high-demand occupations using long-term occupational projections developed by the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC). MERIC’s projections assign career grades based on projected openings, growth, and wages. Occupations were included if they had a grade of A or B at the state level or in any region. Occupations were then excluded if they typically required no formal education or education above a bachelor’s degree, or had below average projected total job openings. You can see all of MERIC’s long-term occupational projections here. You can learn more about the SOC system here.

 

High-demand occupations were then linked to academic programs (identified by a four-digit CIP code) using a nationally standardized crosswalk of SOC to CIP codes. A program that linked to a high-demand SOC code was included. The CIP codes will identify programs eligible for Fast Track. You can learn more about and browse CIPs here.

 

Next Steps

Since Fast Track has been approved by the General Assembly, the CBHE will take into consideration the submitted public comments as they approve a finalized list of programs eligible for the Fast Track program.

 

Click here for more background information about Fast Track or download the handout.