Drury Offers New Scholarships for Law Enforcement Officers With ‘Badge To Bachelor’s’ Program

Springfield-based Drury University announced Thursday that it’s offering a new scholarship program for law enforcement officers.

“Badge to Bachelor’s” is intended to give a leg up to law enforcement officers who enroll in Drury GO, the university’s two- and four-year evening and online degree program, said Mike Brothers, chief Drury spokesperson.

Qualifying Drury GO students can receive up to $500 in scholarship aid each semester, while students who graduated from Drury Law Enforcement Academy can receive up to $600 per semester.

Drury GO students often enroll in one or two courses at a time as they pursue their educations, Brothers said. With Drury charging $320 per credit hour, a course often costs $960 per semester, so the discounts offered by Badge to Bachelor’s make taking a class or two more accessible, Brothers said.

Many officers seek degrees to advance careers

While many law enforcement officers already have a degree or obtained significant college credits as a requirement for getting their job, many others are seeking degrees to become eligible for promotions, Brothers said.

That reality is in keeping with a general trend primed by the pandemic, Brothers added: More adults with some college experience already under their belts are looking to get back into school, in Drury’s experience.

The Badge to Bachelor’s aid may be paired with federal Pell Grants and Missouri Fast Track funding, in qualifying situations, Drury said in a Thursday news release. To further aid their path to a degree, Drury said it also plans to offer two courses on ethics and leadership this summer to Badge to Bachelor’s participants at a significantly reduced cost.

The funding is available for officers seeking any of Drury GO’s 30-plus degree programs, but the university offers two degree programs of particular interest to officers.

One program includes an associate’s degree and bachelor of science in law enforcement, with a focus on the latest investigative and procedural techniques as well as effective communication and leadership. The associate’s degree includes 24 credit hours that form the “core” of Drury’s law enforcement academy.

Another program includes an associate’s degree of science and bachelor of science in criminal justice. These degrees explore criminal investigation and conviction, including causes and prevention of criminal behavior. The degree prepares graduates to apply what they learn to real-world problems as they work in community, social or correctional agencies.

‘Welcomed and appreciated’

Regional law enforcement leaders hailed Drury’s move.

“I was notified of this new program last month and have made SPD officers aware,” Springfield Police Chief Paul Williams told the News-Leader in an email relayed through a spokesperson. The chief thanked Drury for offering a new option for police officers working on their degrees and said, “Any opportunity that enhances an officer’s ability to improve their education is welcomed and appreciated.”

In a Drury news release, Webster County Sheriff Roye Cole said, “Although a degree isn’t always required in a law enforcement position, earning my bachelor’s in criminology and psychology and later my master in business administration from Drury University helped me see the bigger picture in my field and set me up for success as I advanced my career.”

Cole added, “The networking, education, legal, social and economic perspectives and lifelong friends have truly blessed me in my career and my personal life. Furthering your education only makes sense as the field is more complex — and more important — than ever.”

Drury encourages officers interested in Badge to Bachelor’s scholarship opportunities and admission requirements to call 417-873-7373 or email go@drury.edu.

Badge to Bachelor’s isn’t the only new educational opportunity tailored for law enforcement to be announced recently.

In January, the United Way of the Ozarks announced an Academy for Inclusion and Belonging aimed at law enforcement and nonprofit workers. Funded by the Community Foundation of the Ozarks, that program is intended to address racism, the News-Leader reported earlier.

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