January 12, 2011

St. Louis - Gov. Jay Nixon today announced increased award amounts for students receiving Access Missouri scholarship funds, the state's largest need-based student financial aid program.

Award amounts will increase from $275 to $470 at public two-year institutions; from $950 to $1,010 at public four-year institutions; and from $1,900 to $2,160 at independent four-year institutions.

Commissioner of Higher Education David Russell said a conservative approach to setting award levels last year enabled the state to increase the award amounts now.

"We base award amounts on estimates of how many students will be eligible. At the time award amounts are set - usually mid-summer - we do not know how many of those who are eligible will actually apply and attend college," Russell said. "We have traditionally taken a conservative approach to awards for the fall semester, making adjustments as needed later in the academic year."

The state has provided more than $275 million in Access Missouri scholarships since the program was created in 2007. An average of 45,000 students with the greatest financial need have benefited from the scholarship awards each year.

"Access Missouri helps our students to afford the education that is essential to succeed in today's economy," Russell said. "It is with great gratitude and optimism for the future that the governor and I can now promise additional assistance to students and their families."