Senate Approves College Bill

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JEFFERSON CITY - The Senate approved the creation of college grants for nursing programs and for students who score well on math and science exams. Both programs are backed by Gov. Jay Nixon. The Senate's vote of final approval occurred late Thursday and the legislation is ready to be signed.

One program allows annual grants of up to $150,000 to college campuses for nursing programs. Nixon announced in December that the Missouri Board of Nursing was providing $3 million from nurses licensing fees for grants. That money would expand faculty positions so more nurses could be educated.

More than 54,000 qualified nursing applications were turned away in 2010. Dean of MU School of Nursing Judith Miller is confident this grant will provide healthcare the state needs for the future.

"I am so glad the Senate took enough care for the nursing programs to impact the amount of nurses we can turn to help Missourians," Miller said.

The other program would give a $500 bonus to state scholarship recipients who score well on at least two Advanced Placement exams in mathematics or science while attending a public high school. There is no word on when the bill would go into effect.