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Central Visual & Performing Arts High School

The leaders and staff at the Higher Education Consortium of Metropolitan St. Louis are devastated at the news of the fatalities and injuries at Central Visual Performing Arts High School as a result of the tragic shooting that took place on their campus. Our hearts, prayers, and condolences go out to the families and to all those who have been impacted by the tragic incident that took place. Central Visual Performing Arts High School is an educational institution where students can learn to express themselves artistically and creatively in a safe environment. As a result of this tragic incident, that safe space was compromised and devastated the community. HEC will continue to support and uplift all affected by this senseless act of violence. We pray that justice will be restored and healing can begin. 



Cassandra M. Pinkston, CEO

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Higher Education Consortium of Metropolitan St. Louis
Who We Are...
What We Do...

The Higher Education Consortium of Metropolitan St. Louis (HEC) presents a representative voice for higher education institutions in the St. Louis area. HEC serves as the catalyst, connector, communicator and collaborator of educational programs and services, and career and advocacy initiatives that enhance student’s accessibility to as well as their achievement in higher education and beyond.


HEC offers the community three federally funded TRIO Educational Opportunity Programs:

Through the collective effort of stakeholders, HEC serves as catalyst for change through advocacy and investment efforts in:

  • Education & Career Planning

  • Student Support & Success Services

  • Career and Workforce Transition

HEC’s TRIO Educational Opportunity Programs (EOP) are federally funded by the U.S. Department of Education to support young and adult participants as they progress to and through higher education and into career employment. TRIO Upward Bound, Educational Talent Search and Educational Opportunity Centers provide free academic and financial advising, counseling & tutoring, access to educational resources and summer enrichment programs, and college and career planning. We are your one source for all things higher education.

Who We Serve...

HEC serves participants in the greater St. Louis metropolitan area which includes the following counties: St. Louis City, St. Louis County, Madison,
St. Clair, and Clinton. Pre-collegiate programs target middle and high school students and their parents, as well as adult learners in pursuit of a college degree. Through partnerships with secondary schools, institutions of higher education, community organizations, and business, TRIO EOP provide services for over 859 middle and high school students and over 4,000 adults annually.


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CEO Statement

In 1963, The Higher Education Consortium of Metropolitan St. Louis was established by a group of college and university Chancellors and Presidents from the St. Louis metropolitan area who saw a need for coordination and discussion on issues that affect higher education institutions and to provide a representative voice for metropolitan St. Louis education.


Over fifty-five years later, our journey continues and is a work in progress as we rethink, recreate and reimagine our place within the St. Louis metropolitan community. We will continue to fuel this journey with patience and perseverance and through partnerships

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with institutions of higher education, secondary schools, community organizations, families and individuals who share our mission, passion and determination to empower students and their families, and to educate our community.


Throughout the years we’ve received support from over 25 local universities, colleges, and public organizations.  We’ve partnered with approximately 50 secondary schools, community organizations and public institutions from St. Charles County Missouri to Madison County Illinois.  We are excited to deepen these relationships and establish new ones.  We are confident that great things will continue to happen in the coming years when we work together.


Today, HEC of Metro St. Louis stands ready to serve as the catalyst, connector, communicator and collaborator of educational, career and advocacy initiatives that will enhance student’s accessibility to as well as their achievement in higher education and beyond…  To be the one source for all things higher education in the metropolitan St. Louis area.

-Cassandra M. Pinkston


The Higher Education Consortium of Metropolitan St. Louis’ mission is to advance ​communication and cooperative activities among member institutions, secondary schools, related community organizations and individuals; to provide member colleges and universities the opportunity to meet to discuss topics of interest; and to collaborate on projects designed to enhance student’s accessibility to as well as their achievement in higher education.

Member Institutions & Partner Organizations

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Our Trio Educational Opportunity Programs have served over 7,000 participants
Our participants continue to the next level of education
Over 9 counties served by our programs

Upcoming Events

  • TRiO Educational Talent Search Fall Gala
    Oct 04, 6:00 PM CDT
    St. Louis, Il Monastero Banquet Cente, 3050 Olive St, St. Louis, MO 63103, USA
    Come support your scholars! Activities include: Music, Dancing, Poetry Reading, Door Prizes, Gun Safety, and Dinner. Doors Open at 5:45pm Event Starts at 6:00pm Scholarly Dress Code Please RSVP at 314-914-2374
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Chibale Anwisye graduated from Gateway High School 2020 with a full scholarship and studied at Purdue.  While in high school he served as the Robitics Team Captain which won numerous competitions and awards. He interned with the ETS program in 2021 and received a stipend. He is continuing his education in engineering.



Makayla Watson, Central Missouri Graduate “HEC Upward has helped me throughout high school to prepare for college. I not only had my first experience on a college campus and traveling out of state to Washington, DC with Upward
Bound, but I gained an internship opportunity with World Wide Technology for two summers.
These opportunities along with college prep classes and skill-building have allowed me to flourish throughout my college experience.”


In 2016 I graduated high school with big dreams of going to college and

becoming a registered nurse. Thanks to the Trio Educational Opportunity Center that

dream has come true. In 2017 my life completely changed. My mother finally had the courage and strength to leave my abusive father and start a new and healthy life for her and her children. This left me terrified and questioning everything. I wondered how I was ever going to be able to get the life I so badly wanted for myself and my own family. I didn’t even have a home, how was I going to be able to go to college?

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