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Blunt Proposes Expansion of Needs-Based Scholarships

During a press conference at Missouri State University this morning, Governor Matt Blunt announced his proposal to expand eligibility for the state's needs-based scholarships. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports.

During a press conference at Missouri State University this morning, Governor Matt Blunt announced his proposal to expand eligibility for the state's needs-based scholarships.

Blunt estimates that 3 thousand Missouri State students would be eligible under the expanded program, while right now, fewer than 600 qualify.

Blunt is also supporting a plan that the State Student Financial Aid Committee recommended last year: combining the two needs-based scholarships into a single scholarship program. Blunt says the new program will be easier for families and students to use.

The Vice President of Missouri State's student body Sara Eubanks welcomed Blunt's announcement about increasing scholarship availability and accessibility.

Lawmakers have until the end of session, mid-May to approve the scholarship changes. But they're part of a controversial bill that was the target of a Democrat-led filibuster before lawmakers went on Spring Break late last week.

And financial aid advisors say the longer lawmakers wait to approve the changes, the more difficult their job will be.

Vicki Mattocks is Director of Financial Aid at Missouri State University.

Funding for the proposed increase in needs-based scholarships would come from the projected budget surplus. That money is the subject of much debate...some lawmakers don't believe there is a surplus...Among those who do believe it exists, there's disagreement over how to spend it. Scholarships are just one of many options.