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House endorses equalizing Access Missouri scholarships


By Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

Jefferson City, Mo. – Legislation that would equalize the amount of money awarded to college students through Access Missouri scholarships received first-round approval today from the State House.

Currently, the needs-based scholarship program provides up to $4,600 per student per year at four-year private institutions, while those enrolled at state-run schools can only receive up to $2,150 per year.

State Representative Mike Thomson (R, Maryville) sponsors the bill, which would set scholarship amounts at $2,850 a year at both private and public colleges.

"There are some people that feel like private schools aren't getting anything, they need to have more money...there are others that say, 'Public money ought to go to public schools, not private.' We feel like the money follows the student...it's good for the families, it's good for the student," Thomson said.

The equalizing of Access Missouri scholarships would not take effect until 2014. It would also provide up to $1,300 per year to qualifying students at community colleges.

The bill received overwhelming bipartisan support. It needs one more House vote before moving to the Missouri Senate.