Bright Flight scholarships might be cut

The Bright Flight program was funded at $17.6 million for 2016.

Too many top students, not enough money. That’s the problem for the Missouri Department of Higher Education and it’s Bright Flight Scholarship program. 

The Department of Higher Education has notified the state's colleges and universities that there could be a shortage of funds to fully pay the $3,000 scholarship due to an increase in the number of students qualifying for the scholarship. The Department of Higher Education will ask the Missouri legislature for an additional $1.5 million dollars to fully fund scholarships to 7000 Bright Flight students.

“If it is not approved then students will receive about $2,725,” said Liz Coleman of the Missouri Department of Education. “So about $275 dollars less than the fully funded scholarship of $3000 dollars.”

Mizzou pre-med student Andrew Kaiser of Chesterfield is finding it hard to concentrate while studying for his organic chemistry test. He received an email from Mizzou student financial aid saying his $3000 Bright Flight Scholarship may be cut by $300 for the spring semester.

“For the hard work I've put in to earn the scholarship and how hard I work here, it's a little discouraging,” said Kaiser.

Andrew’s mother, Susan Kaiser was also caught off guard.

“We were shocked to hear that because we didn't think it was something that changed from semester to semester. We thought it was a guaranteed amount,” said Susan Kaiser.

Bright Flight was established to keep Missouri’s top high school students from leaving the state. The program rewards students who score in the top three percent on the ACT with a $3000 scholarship per school year. The department is seeking a supplemental appropriation from the Missouri Legislature so that the scholarship can be fully funded. If the supplemental appropriation is not approved, students will receive approximately $2,725, $1,500 for the fall semester and $1,225 for the spring semester. 7000 Bright Flight students and their families will not know if the supplemental appropriation is approved until Spring 2017.

Susan Kaiser has a challenge for legislators.

“My message is do the right thing. Look out for the kids and the families. These are all high achieving kids and they deserve their scholarships.”


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