Nixon seeks scholarship consolidation in Higher Education Department

Thursday, February 5, 2009 | 6:05 p.m. CST

JEFFERSON CITY — Gov. Jay Nixon is seeking to consolidate various scholarship and grant programs under the state Department of Higher Education.

Among the scholarship programs being transferred is the A+ Schools Program, which has been run by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. The program provides two years of free community college tuition for graduates of certain high schools who had good grades and good attendance and performed volunteer tutoring or mentoring.

Nixon also wants to expand the A+ Schools Program to graduates of all high schools and to continue their free tuition when students go from a community college to a four-year university. But the reorganization is not dependent upon legislative passage of Nixon's plan to expand the program.

Five other scholarship and grant programs also would be transferred to the higher education agency from the departments that oversee K-12 schools, agriculture and natural resources.

The Department of Higher Education already oversees many of the state's main scholarship programs, including the Access Missouri and Bright Flight scholarships.

"It's all about making this an easier process for Missouri students and their families to identify sources of scholarship funds," Nixon spokesman Scott Holste said Thursday. "It puts one-stop shopping at their disposal, all within the Higher Education Department."

The reorganization plan for scholarship programs will take effect Aug. 28, unless the legislature rejects it within the next 60 days.

The same is true for two other program shifts ordered by Nixon.

The governor is seeking to move the Missouri Customized Training Program, which assists employers with job training, from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to the Department of Economic Development.

He also is planning to transfer the Blindness Education, Screening and Treatment Program from the state Department of Health and Senior Services to the Department of Social Services, which already oversees other services for the blind.


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