University of Central Missouri accelerated program brings Obama to Warrensburg

Two-year programs could cut college costs in half

WARRENSBURG, Mo. - The community of Warrensburg, Mo., is ready to welcome the President of the United States.

President Barack Obama is coming to the University of Central Missouri on Wednesday to speak at the student rec center.

He is expected to talk about the economy, but school officials said his visit is also about preparing future employees for new jobs.

"It's exciting for a college campus that the president would actually recognize the creativity and innovation that's being generated here," Dr. Charles Ambrose, UCM President, noted.

Ambrose said the White House noticed a unique program at his university.

Central Missouri is the only college in the nation with a program that allows students to graduate two years early.

"They (students) will be able to obtain a four-year college degree in half the time," Ambrose said.

The program, part of the new Missouri Innovation Campus, caught President Obama's attention.

In the program, high school students go through a high-tech, accelerated curriculum that cuts down on not just time, but costs too.

The program wasn't available to current Central Missouri students, like senior Skyla Sharbono, when they started college.

"I'm probably going to have $100,000 in debt," Sharbono said, "I know I'll be paying off these loans for a really long time and as far as I know, that money is not going to the economy."

President Obama will talk about fixing the economy at a place that just might have an answer.

"It's great to say the solutions can be generated from campuses like ours," Ambrose said.

Former President Bill Clinton also spoke at the University of Central Missouri in 2011, but President Obama will be the first sitting president to ever visit the campus. The doors will open to anyone with tickets at 1:45 p.m. Wednesday.

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