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Gov Blunt Proposes Need-Based Scholarship Plan for Missouri

About 19,000 more students from Missouri will have access to need-based college scholarships under a new plan advocated by Gov. Matt Blunt.Blunt recommended streamlining the scholarship application process by combining the current two scholarship programs into one program called Access Missouri. He said the new plan will have one simple formula, and it will be based on a familys ability to pay for college. Families could consider a decision about college earlier since they would be able to predict the formula.Currently the need-based scholarship programs serve 17,000 students. The "Access Missouri" scholarship program would help fund about 36,000 college students.Under the governor's plan, which is part of Senate Bill 389, state funding for the higher education scholarship program will be increased to $72.5 from the present $27.5 million. Blunt said the plan is part of an overall effort to increase higher education funding.In addition to increasing scholarship funding, Blunt also called for $40 million in new funding for colleges and universities and a three-year plan that increases higher education funding in Missouri by more then $110 million.According to Lucas Presson, a southeast student from Cape Girardeau, it's often difficult for students to avail of scholarships in subsequent years. Most of the academic scholarships only pay for part of the school costs; he hoped that need-based scholarships would help fill that gap.The Senate Bill 389 also includes the Lewis and Clark Initiative, which would provide funding of $350 million for campus construction projects around the state. Although the democrats have objected to the plan, Blunt remains optimistic and hopes the legislature will pass the bill.

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