The Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis

New state budget a hardship for students with financial need

Missouri’s new budget contains a $4 million increase for college scholarships; that sounds like good news. But the increase is directed at Bright Flight Scholarships, awards for students who score 31 or more on their ACT tests. There is no increase in the scholarship budget for Access Missouri, need-based scholarship aid, and that, according to Karissa Anderson, manager of advocacy and policy research for The Scholarship Foundation, is a problem. The Foundation, which opened in 1920, helps students who lack financial resources pursue education.

The governor stresses the importance of education and jobs for everyone, Karissa said. Students who qualify for the Bright Flight awards are frequently from higher-income families, who will attend college with or without this award. But for students who have not had the advantage of test preparation courses and who may not come from wealthy families, the scholarship money can make the difference between attending college or not.

Student interns at the Foundation educated the Missouri General Assembly regarding the importance of increasing need-based aid. Grant money from the Incarnate Word Foundation helps fund they student intern program. Karissa said the experience students gained from their advocacy work is extremely valuable, even if they didn’t get their desired outcomes. And they are determined to keep fighting, she said.