• ST. LOUIS, MO. January 20, 2012 – Would you rather earn $27,470 a year or $34, 197 a year? According to the 2010 U.S. Census, those with a high school diploma earn $6,727.00 more a year than those without a high school diploma.  Over a 40 year professional career, that is $269,080.00 more in a high school graduate’s pocket.  


    For many, the message remains clear, stay in school, but for those who have dropped out, especially for those who have been out for several years; second chances are hard to come by.   To meet the needs of the city’s dropout population, the St. Louis Public School District created the Fresh Start Academy program. 


    The Fresh Start Academy, a Missouri Options program supported by the In-It-2-Win Community Coalition, helps students, ages 17-21, earn a high school diploma or GED. The Fresh Start Academy program is free, and meals and transportation are provided. 


    To understand the educational options available to students, below is a brief description of the GED and High School Diploma:

    The GED Test

    The General Educational Development, or GED, Test is a test that certifies the taker has attained high school-level academic skills (US or Canadian). The exam takes approximately seven hours to complete and covers five academic subjects: writing skills; interpreting literature and the arts (reading); mathematics; science; social studies. To pass the GED Tests and earn a GED credential, test takers must score higher than 40 percent of graduating high school seniors nationwide.

    GED Certificate Acceptance

    According to the American Council on Education (ACE), the national organization that oversees the GED exam, about 95% of U.S. colleges and universities accept the GED credential.

    For purposes of military service, a GED is regarded as Tier 2 education. The armed forces limit the percentage of Tier 2 candidates accepted in any enlistment year. In addition, GED holders must score higher on the ASVAB to qualify. The status of the GED is based on decades of statistics showing that high school graduates have a much lower attrition rate than other enlistees. The percentage of Tier 2 candidates accepted depends upon the particular branch of service. The Air Force accepts less than one percent, and the Navy and Marines accept less than ten percent.

    High School Diploma

    A high school diploma is a diploma awarded for the completion of high school. In the United States and Canada, it is considered the minimum education required for government jobs and higher education.

    High School Diploma Acceptance

    A regular high school diploma is accepted by all colleges and universities, businesses, and the United States military services.

    For purposes of recruiting requirements, the military categorizes education into three categories or tiers. Most enlistees are in Tier 1, which is for high school diplomas. High school equivalencies are in Tier 2, and non-high school graduates are in Tier 3. Thus, holders of regular high school diplomas, assuming that they pass the physical and other requirements for enlistment, are readily accepted for military service.


    Students attending the Fresh Start Academy to earn their high school diploma receive a minimum of 15 hours of academic instruction per week and can select to attend morning or afternoon sessions. Students are also enrolled in other instructional activities (career education courses, elective classes, work experience, etc.) that lead to student's classification by the District as a full-time student. 


    Two campuses are now available for prospective students. To learn more, or enroll, please call:

    • Fresh Start Academy-North, 4248 W. Cottage Ave., (314) 531-2220
    • Fresh Start Academy-South, 2030 S. Vandeventer, (314) 932-1337


    More information about Fresh Start can also be found by clicking here. For more information regarding the press release please contact the Office of Public Information (314) 345-2367.




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