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COLUMBIA - As tuition for higher education increases, many students consider scholarships as an important factor when they choose a school. At the national level, financial support from states for higher education is falling dramatically, which means in many states, more students have to compete for less money. However, that's not the case at the University of Missouri.

According to a Reuters article, "The percentage of students reporting winning scholarships dropped markedly, to 35 percent in the 2011-2012 school year, from 45 percent they year before, according to How America Pays for College 2012."

The article gave many examples to explain the situation. For example, it said Michigan's Merit and Promise scholarship program gave out more than $8 million to students at the University of Michigan for the 2007-2008 school year, but that number became zero by 2010-2011.

However, in Missouri, state funding has decreased, but money for scholarships has increased.

"As a result of the increased tuition fees, a certain portion of that has been able to go back into the scholarship fund," said Nick Prewett, the director of Student Financial Aid. "So for this current fiscal year 13, we've actually increased our scholarship budget 13 percent of what we had last year."

The scholarship budget for fiscal year 2012 was about $45 million, but this year it's more than $51 million.

Many seniors at Rock Bridge High School said scholarships play an important role in their decisions. Annie Rumpf said she has started to apply for several scholarships and she wants to go to pre-medical school. 

Although she is looking at universities like Auburn and Colorado, she said, "If I don't get scholarships there, they are kind of out of the question."

Sydney Strong, another senior at Rock Bridge High School, said she is thinking about pre-pharmacy and pre-physical therapy as majors, and scholarships are important for her, too.

"The tuition is being so high now for most colleges, so it is really important to really lower the cost because I don't want to put a whole bunch of financial burden on my parents," Strong said.

This year, the number of students who got scholarships from MU also increased. When Rumpf heard that, she said she would definitely choose MU if she can't get money from any of the pricier schools.