JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - High school seniors seeking to take advantage of the Missouri Higher Education Academic "Bright Flight" scholarship have a new goal to meet.

Bright Flight scholarships are awarded to high school seniors who have a composite score on the ACT or the SAT in the top three percent of all Missouri students taking those tests. Each fall, the ACT and College Board assessment companies determine the score required for inclusion in the top three percent of test-takers.

Based on information recently received from ACT and College Board, both report an increase in the qualifying scores needed by this year's high school seniors in order to qualify for the Bright Flight award. For fall 2008 entering freshmen, the qualifying ACT composite score will be 31 and the qualifying SAT scores will be 790 on the math portion and 780 on the verbal portion of the exam. Bright Flight guidelines state that the qualifying score must be achieved on a national test date that falls on or before the June test date of a student's senior year in high school.

Because the qualifying score for the ACT - the test taken by a majority of Missouri's college bound students ? had remained at 30 for several years, the Missouri Department of Higher Education (MDHE) notified 2007-2008 high school seniors who had achieved a 30 of the increased score requirement. "As soon as we learned of the new qualifying score, we felt it was important to let these students know about it. We want them to have ample opportunity to register for upcoming test dates if they choose to re-take the test," noted MDHE assistant commissioner Leroy Wade.

Since its inception in 1987, Bright Flight scholarship eligibility has been based on the qualifying score that is announced during a student's senior year in high school. ACT or SAT scores achieved during students' sophomore or junior years are acceptable to determine eligibility, as long as those scores are qualifying scores when the student becomes a senior.

Recipients must be graduating high school seniors, Missouri residents, and must enroll as first-time, full time students at an approved Missouri school. The annual award amount is $2,000.

For more information on the Bright Flight scholarship, please visit www.dhe.mo.gov/brightflight.html