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University of Central Missouri
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Contact: Mike Greife
WARRENSBURG, MO (April 7, 2009) – Phil Shreves, director of student financial assistance at UCM, testified April 2 in front of the Missouri Senate Higher Education Committee in support of Senate Bill 390, proposed legislation that will level the playing field for Missouri college students who qualify for monetary aid from the Access Missouri Financial Assistance Program.
Senate Bill 390, co-sponsored by Senators David Pearce, Warrensburg, and Kurt Schaefer, Columbia, and House Bill 792, co-sponsored by Representatives Denny Hoskins, Warrensburg, and Gayle Kingery, Poplar Bluff, are designed to provide equality in the levels of need-based grant funding provided by the statewide program. Both pieces of legislation equalize the maximum amount of funding available to public and private four-year college and university students. The maximum annual Access Missouri grant available to students attending private institutions currently is more than double the amount available to those attending public institutions.
“This legislation will create some balance in the grant funds received by these two groups of students,” Shreves said. “Many individuals attending our excellent two- and four-year public institutions are from lower- and middle- income families. To pay their additional expenses, these students often have no choice but to also borrow federal and/or private loan funds to supplement their grant and scholarship awards, as well as their own financial resources.”
Shreves added that “college and university financial aid officers not only assist families in obtaining funding needed to meet educational expenses, but also seek ways to help students keep their future loan debt as low as possible.
“SB 390 and HB 792, if approved, will help meet the goal of providing valuable and often desperately needed assistance for Missouri students wishing to pursue and complete a bachelor’s degree,” he added. “In addition, increased Access Missouri Grants will result in our students not needing to borrow quite so much money to pay their required costs. Following graduation, these students will then have the benefit of much lower monthly loan payments.”
“We appreciate Mr. Shreves’ testimony,” Pearce said. “He was the only financial aid professional to testify, and he brought some very important information to the table.”
Under the current provisions of Access Missouri, students attending a two-year public institution in Missouri may receive a maximum of $1,000 per year in financial assistance from the state, and those attending four-year public institutions in the state may receive a maximum of $2,150. Students attending four-year private institutions currently may receive a maximum of $4,600 per year.
Under provisions of the proposed legislation, those attending two-year public institutions would continue to be eligible for up to $1,000 per year, while those attending four-year public institutions and those attending four-year private institutions would be eligible for the same maximum grant of $2,850 per year.