New legislation passed in Missouri means that as early as next year, public school students in kindergarten through 12th grade could have the option of taking online courses for free.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Missouri House and Senate in May approved what’s been dubbed the Missouri Course Access and Virtual School Program. If Gov. Eric Greitens signs the law, it could become effective next summer.

The main intent is to expand course access for high school students in small, rural or financially-troubled schools that may not be able to afford teachers in advanced courses such as chemistry, Chinese or creative writing.

Under the new program, the school district or charter school would pick up the tab, not the student’s family.

Alex_Schmidt, ThinkStock