Access Missouri scholarship receives funding boost
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon announced that the state Department of Higher Education will increase scholarship amounts for students under the Access Missouri program to a combined total of about $58.7 million.
The fund increase is for the 2010-2011 academic year.
The Access Missouri program grants scholarships to Missouri residents with financial need who attend college in state. The increase in funds allocated for scholarships will affect the 145 Washington University students who are among the 46,000 Missouri students win the program.
Last year, the state decreased the program’s budget, thus reducing grants for eligible students.
The reasons for the increase include a change in demand for scholarships, a change in the number of eligible students and careful resource management at Access Missouri, according to a news release from Governor Nixon’s office.
Individual allocation increases vary based on the type of higher education institution attended. The maximum scholarships awarded to individual students will increase from $275 to $470 for students at community colleges, $950 to $1,010 for students at four-year public institutions and $1,900 to $2,160 for those at private institutions.
“I imagine that the reason the [Department of Higher Education] is adjusting awards mid-year is simply that some students who enrolled in the fall semester might not have returned for the second semester, or they might not have even started in the fall,” said Rose Windmiller, the assistant vice chancellor for government and community relations at Washington University.
“Some colleges take longer to report their actual enrollment numbers than others—it’s possible that some eligible students did not actually take classes, so Access now has a surplus, which means that currently enrolled students who are receiving the awards will now get a bit more aid than anticipated,” Windmiller said.
These increases in scholarships will allow more students to attain the college degrees that are integral to their future success, according to the governor’s release.
“To compete for jobs in the 21st century, education and training beyond high school are vital,” Nixon said in a statement.
Windmiller stressed the importance of the Access program for Missourians attending the University.
“All financial aid is important to the University. The Access program is particularly important to Missouri students attending WU,” Windmiller said.
Student Financial Services also applauded Nixon’s announced increase in grant levels.
“I’m happy that Governor Nixon is helping Missouri students finance their college educations at the Missouri schools of their choice,” said Bill Witbrodt, director of Student Financial Services.
Several elements affect the grant amount an individual student receives. These include the number of students who apply for the scholarship and the number who actually enroll in college.
Scholarship amounts for the fiscal year staring fall 2011 will be announced in July, when the budget is finalized.