Posted: May 8, 2013 11:17 PM by Doug Hoffmann
Updated: May 9, 2013 4:21 PM
COLUMBIA - The Missouri Senate is working on the last stages of getting a bill passed that would mean big changes to financial aid for college students.
The bill would modify Bright Flight, the A+ Program, and the Access Missouri Financial Assistance Program.
For Bright Flight, students would have to complete at least 24 credit hours in their first twelve months of enrollment followed by at least thirty credit hours in each upcoming twelve month period.
Missouri senator David Pearce sponsored the bill. He said the bill will be useful in encouraging students to graduate in four years.
"What we want them to do is get in and out as quickly as possible," Pearce said. "They're less likely to drop out and they will have less financial debt the shorter they are in college."
Pearce also said that it is important to recognize that there are exceptions in the bill to protect those with special circumstances including illness, pregnancy and military service.
The University of Missouri's financial aid director, Nicholas Prewett, encourages students to graduate in four years in order to try to prevent student debt, but he does say the changes can have a negative toll on those receiving financial aid.
"Our average student takes 13.75 credit hours, so a requirement of 15 hours on A students really is going to cause quite a few students to loose their eligibility for the Bright Flight Award," Prewett said.
If passed the bill will go into affect in late August.