Missouri Senate endorses scholarship expansion plan

Tuesday, April 7, 2009 | 10:21 a.m. CDT

JEFFERSON CITY — The Senate on Monday endorsed Gov. Jay Nixon's plan to expand Missouri's scholarships by offering four years of free tuition to students who start at community colleges and then transfer to state universities.

The legislation builds upon Missouri's existing A+ Schools Program, which was created in 1993.

That program provides free community college tuition to graduates from certain high schools who have maintained at least a 2.5 grade point average, achieved 95 percent attendance and performed at least 50 hours of volunteer mentoring.

The bill would open up the program to students from any public high school while eliminating the mentoring requirement. That's expected to cost the state about $7 million.

For recipients of A+ scholarships who complete an associate's degree and maintain a B average, the legislation would authorize two additional years of free tuition at a state university. That expansion is projected to cost about $40 million.

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