Gov. Jay Nixon announced today that the Missouri Department of Higher Education will increase scholarship amounts for students under the Access Missouri program. The department will increase award amounts for the current academic year as follows:
- For qualifying students at public community colleges, the scholarship will increase from $275 up to a maximum of $470;
- For qualifying students at four-year public institutions, the scholarship will increase from $950 up to a maximum of $1,010; and
- For qualifying students at private institutions, the scholarship will increase from $1,900 up to a maximum of $2,160
"To compete for jobs in the 21st century, education and training beyond high school are vital," Gov. Nixon said. "I am pleased my administration will be able to increase Access Missouri awards for this school year to help more students afford to earn their degree. We'll continue working each and every day to put the dream of a college education within reach for more Missouri families."
These increased amounts reflect the maximum Access Missouri award a student would receive for both semesters of the 2010-2011 school year. The increases are possible because of careful management of Access Missouri resources and the current level of demand for the scholarships. Decisions about scholarship amounts for the fall 2011 semester will be made once the budget for the next fiscal year, which begins in July, is finalized.
About 46,000 Missouri students will receive Access Missouri scholarships during the spring 2011 semester. With these increased scholarship amounts, the state will invest about $58.7 million in Access Missouri this year.
Gov. Nixon made the announcement today during a visit to St. Louis Community College-Forest Park to tour the college's automotive technology facility as the college prepares to begin training its first class of Hybrid Electric Vehicle Technician students.
The innovative program, which will prepare students upgrade next-generation hybrid vehicles, was made possible by Gov. Nixon's Training for Tomorrow initiative, which provided grants to Missouri's public community colleges to expand educational programs in high-demand fields. St. Louis Community College received more than $2 million through Training for Tomorrow.
Beginning next week, St. Louis Community College's Hybrid Electric Vehicle Technician Program will prepare students for entry-level positions in the automotive industry. During the 240-hour program, students will be trained in the fundamentals of hybrid electronic automobiles, including the use of necessary equipment and tools, and graduates will earn a certificate of specialization.
The hybrid technology program can accommodate up to 15 students, and the program's first course is filled to capacity. The college also is expanding programs in health care, manufacturing and information technology because of Training for Tomorrow funds.
"Our community colleges play a vital role in training Missourians for the careers of tomorrow," Gov. Nixon said. "Community colleges work closely with employers to pinpoint their workforce needs, and they design programs that prepare workers to step into those careers as quickly as possible. Whether it's health care, computers, manufacturing or another field, Missouri's community colleges are training students to compete - and win - in the 21st-century economy. By giving more students access to higher education, we're ensuring that Missouri has a workforce to compete for generations to come."
College accessibility and affordability have been top priorities for Gov. Nixon since taking office. During his visit today, the Governor detailed a number of additional initiatives his administration has undertaken to put a college education within reach for more Missouri families, including a historic two-year freeze on tuition at all public colleges and universities in the state.
Last week, Gov. Nixon announced that his administration also will continue to prioritize funding for Missouri's successful A+ Scholarship Program, which covers the cost of tuition and general fees for two years at public community colleges for students who meet academic achievement, service and conduct requirements. Gov. Nixon also said his administration is looking for opportunities to make that program accessible to more students across the state.