Bill to Increase Scholarship Requirements Prompts Mixed Reactions

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COLUMBIA - Students at the University Of Missouri were mixed in their responses Monday afternoon to a new bill considering toughening the attendance requirements for state college scholarships. It's a bill that pushes students to graduate on time.

"Any measure or movement to make students who already struggle to pay for college, work even harder and do even more to continue funding education is negative," said Trevor Kraus who studies strategic communication at MU.

SB 378 has received first-round approval in the Senate. It would require recipients of three scholarship programs called Bright Flight, Access Missouri and the A+ School programs to either finish on time or lose their state aid.

The policy would require recipients of the A+ program to complete 48 credit hours over two years to receive aid.

For recipients of Access Missouri and Bright Flight, enrollment in 24 hours of classes their first year and 30 hours the next years would be required to maintain eligibility.

"It makes sense cause there are kids that take time and take less credit too and could push themselves a little bit more and get through in four years," said Alix Carruth, a journalism student and recipient of a diversity scholarship.

Supporters of the bill say it is meant to make students graduate on time. Currently students can receive aid for 10 semesters and that would be lowered to eight.

MU student Peyton Huse, a recipient of the Mark Twain scholarship based on her ACT scores, supported the bil.

"Getting a scholarship is like a huge opportunity and the reason you are coming here is to get an education, and I think it's reasonable to ask for them to complete that in eight semesters," said Huse.

An amendment has been adopted to allow students of the programs to seek waivers from the requirements. That includes "serious and unusual personal circumstances" and other factors such as military membership, disabilities or working in state or federal government.

Biology student Kristie Vale, who receives a heritage scholarship and is also supported by her parents financially, is against the bill because it affects students who need to take a part time job.

"That's why they take those eight or 10 credit hour semesters and they are probably struggling and that is not a good thing," Vale said.