Students at MU and other Missouri colleges and universities will receive $1,200 less from the annual Bright Flight scholarship for the 2020-2021 academic year.

MU Financial Aid notified student recipients Wednesday via email that the state program has been reduced from a $3,000 award to $1,800, citing the "current economic conditions of the state." The email stated students will receive a revised financial aid notice in the coming week. The fall semester at MU begins Aug. 24.

"We regret to inform you of this change but wanted to communicate it to you as soon as possible," the email said. "Unfortunately, these circumstances are beyond our control."

The scholarship reduction notice comes weeks after Gov. Mike Parson restricted almost $450 million from the fiscal year 2021 budget ahead of its start on July 1. Among those restrictions were a $28 million reduction in four-year higher education institutions and an almost $6.5 million reduction in the Bright Flight program.

In past years, the Bright Flight program has been awarded to Missouri residents entering college based on their standardized testing scores and returning students who maintain certain academic standards in subsequent semesters. It is offered through the Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development.

MU is aware of the situation with the program, spokesperson Christian Basi said, and will be working with students on an individual basis to determine if they can be helped in any way.

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  • Galen Bacharier is an assistant city editor at the Missourian. He has reported on higher education, state government and breaking news. Reach him at or on Twitter @galenbacharier.

  • As senior editor of the Missourian, Fred Anklam manages general assignment reporters. He can be reached at or in the newsroom at 573-882-5720.

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