Missouri officials say more students will receive the merit-based scholarship known as Bright Flight during the upcoming academic year, while those who qualify for need-based assistance could see more money.

More than 10,500 students across the state are estimated to meet the eligibility requirements for the Missouri Higher Education Academic Scholarship, commonly referred to as Bright Flight, once the June ACT test scores are processed, officials with the Missouri Department of Higher Education announced last week. Of those who are eligible, approximately 7,800 are expected to receive the scholarship this fall.

If current projections hold, that would indicate a growth rate of more than 5% over last year, the state said.

The award of up to $3,000 is given to students who score in the top 3% on the ACT or SAT tests to attend a qualifying Missouri college or university.

In addition, more than 43,000 students are expected to receive the Access Missouri award this fall. Awards have increased from 70% to 75% of the statutory maximums and are now estimated to be $980 for students attending a public, two-year college and $2,140 for students attending a four-year college.

Access Missouri grant amounts are determined primarily by available state funding and the number of students eligible to receive the grant each year, state officials said. Specific award amounts, which will be announced next month, are determined by students' financial need, the type of college they attend and other financial aid they receive.

“State financial aid is essential to helping many students earn a college degree,” said Leroy Wade, deputy commissioner of higher education, in a statement. “Missouri is fortunate to have a number of grant and scholarship programs, and funding for several of those programs has increased in recent years.”

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