Historic bill allows Harris-Stowe State to offer graduate degrees

Updated: 8/5/2015 4:21 PM CST



For Immediate Release


Pier Scott (314) 340-3391


Nixon Signs Bill Allowing Harris-Stowe State University to Offer Graduate Degrees

Historic Action Grants Parity to St. Louis’s only Historically Black University

LOUIS, MO (July 16, 2015) — For the first time in the institution’s 158-year history, Harris-Stowe State University (HSSU) will be able to offer graduate-level programs under a law signed by Governor Jeremiah “Jay” Nixon today. The Missouri legislature passed Senate Bill 334 in May, which expands Harris-Stowe’s degree granting authority. The law takes effect on August 28.

Previously, Harris-Stowe was only authorized to offer undergraduate degree programs with an emphasis on selected disciplines. The next steps toward Harris-Stowe realizing the long-held objective to confer graduate degrees are for the Coordinating Board for Higher Education and the Higher Learning Commission to approve of the change.


Dr. Dwaun J. Warmack, HSSU president (hssu.edu)

“We believed that Gov. Nixon would sign into law the opportunity for Harris-Stowe to achieve parity with Missouri’s other 12 state universities,” said Dr. Dwaun J. Warmack, president of Harris-Stowe State University.  “We’ve been hoping for this favorable outcome and will now begin the process to offer graduate programs as soon as feasible.”

Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, sponsored the legislation, which modifies provisions relating to the boards of regents of state colleges and universities and expands HSSU’s degree-granting authority. The bill passed in the Higher Education Committee of the Missouri House of Representatives in April.

“Attaining an advanced degree will now be within reach for a greater number of students, particularly those underserved students seeking an affordable graduate school opportunity. “Warmack added. “Over the next 10 years, Harris-Stowe will play a critical role in achieving Missouri’s Big Goal of ensuring that 60 percent of Missourians possess a college credential.”

The university will explore several advance degree options and offer programs that best address the diverse needs of the region while providing students an opportunity for career success.

About Harris-Stowe State University

Harris-Stowe State University (HSSU), located in midtown St. Louis, is a fully accredited four-year institution that offers 31 majors, minors and certificate programs in education, business and arts & sciences. In 2014, HSSU ranked No. 1 in the state of Missouri and No. 47 in the nation in granting degrees in mathematics and statistics to African-Americans according to Missouri Department of Higher Education and Diverse: Issues In Higher Education, a newsmagazine that has ranked institutions conferring the most degrees to minority students for the past 30 years. The university, which has origins dating back to 1857, offers the most affordable bachelor’s degree in the state of Missouri.

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