SB 899 – This act establishes the Missouri Promise Program to provide financial awards to eligible students who attend certain institutions of higher education, as described in the act. The Coordinating Board for Higher Education will administer the program and may promulgate rules and regulations for the program's implementation, including the manner and method of payment of awards. The Board may also determine additional eligibility requirements, requirements for renewal awards, and criteria for the deferral of an award. (Sections 173.1174, 173.1175 and 173.1178)
The program makes Level 1 Missouri Promise Awards and Level 2 Missouri Promise Awards available to eligible students. A Level 1 Missouri Promise Award may be awarded to a student attending an approved community college, public vocational or technical school, or an eligible private institution, as described in the act. This type of award replaces the existing A+ Scholarship Program. A student attending a public community college, vocational or technical school may receive a Level 1 award in an amount up to the student's actual tuition. A student attending an eligible approved private institution may receive an award in an amount not to exceed the lesser of the student's actual tuition or the tuition charged by the community college in whose service area the private institution is located.
A Level 2 Missouri Promise Award may be awarded to a student who attends an approved public university while pursuing a four-year degree who has earned an Associate's Degree and has already received a Level 1 award or A+ Scholarship, as described in the act. The amount of a Level 2 award must not exceed the lesser of either the tuition at the institution the student is attending or the average university tuition amount, as described in the act.
All Missouri Promise Awards must be reduced by the amount of a student's Pell Grant awards or Access Missouri awards. All Missouri Promise Awards are subject to appropriation. If appropriated funds are insufficient to fund all awards, the Department of Higher Education must give priority to funding Level 1 awards over Level 2 Awards and may prorate both Level 1 and Level 2 awards if necessary. (Section 173.1184)
A Missouri Promise Award recipient may transfer from one approved institution to another without losing eligibility. The Coordinating Board must adjust the award amount if necessary. (Section 173.1187)
If an award recipient is entitled to a refund from his or her institution of attendance, any portion of the refund that is attributable to a Missouri Promise award must be paid to the Coordinating Board. (Section 173.1190)
ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS FOR LEVEL 1 AND LEVEL 2 MISSOURI PROMISE AWARDS: To be eligible for a Level 1 or Level 2 Missouri Promise Award, an applicant must: be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States; be a Missouri resident who graduated from a Missouri public high school; is enrolled, or has been accepted for enrollment, as a full-time student in a postsecondary education program, as described in the act; is not enrolled in and is not using the Missouri Promise award to pursue a degree in theology or divinity; has not been found guilty of or plead guilty to any criminal offense that would disqualify the applicant from receiving federal student aid during the time in which the applicant would receive a Missouri Promise award; and has attempted to secure all available state and federal postsecondary financial assistance that does not require repayment by submitting a FAFSA form by the Coordinating Board's deadline. (Section 173.1181)
ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS FOR AN INITIAL LEVEL 1 MISSOURI PROMISE AWARD: Additionally, an applicant must meet the following criteria for an initial Level 1 Missouri Promise Award: during high school, have achieved a 2.5 grade point average or higher on a 4.0 scale; have at least a 95% attendance rate for grades 9-12; have performed at least fifty hours of unpaid community service; maintained a record of good citizenship and avoided the unlawful use of drugs or alcohol; and be enrolled in a community college, public vocational or technical school, or approved private institution as a full-time student, as described in the act. (Section 173.1181)
REQUIREMENTS FOR A RENEWAL LEVEL 1 MISSOURI PROMISE AWARD: To receive a renewal Level 1 Missouri Promise Award, an applicant must remain continuously enrolled at a community college, public vocational or technical school, or approved private institution, as described in the act; have maintained a 2.5 GPA on a 4.0 scale while receiving a Missouri Promise Award or A+ Scholarship; and have received a Missouri Promise Award or A+ Scholarship during the prior academic year.
A student cannot receive a Level 1 Missouri Promise award or A+ Scholarship for more than six semesters. (Section 173.1181)
ADDITIONAL ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS FOR AN INITIAL LEVEL 2 MISSOURI PROMISE AWARDS: An applicant may be eligible for an initial Level 2 Missouri Promise Award by meeting the following requirements: have received an associate's degree from a community college, public vocational or technical school, or eligible approved private institution, as described in the act, and has enrolled in an approved public university within nine months of completing the associate's degree; received a Level 1 Missouri Promise Award or an A+ Scholarship during each regular semester that he or she attended an approved institution, as described in the act, or would have received a Level 1 Missouri Promise Award but for the receipt of other state or federal postsecondary student financial assistance; the applicant has achieved a GPA of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale while in college; and the applicant has an expected family contribution of $12,000 or less. (Section 173.1181)
ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS FOR A RENEWAL LEVEL 2 MISSOURI PROMISE AWARD: After receiving an initial Level 2 award, an applicant may receive a renewal Level 2 award if he or she achieves an overall 3.0 grade point average on a 4.0 scale while attending an approved public university, as described in the act.
A student cannot receive a Level 2 award for more than four semesters, unless the Coordinating Board grants the student a deferral and the student is enrolled in a baccalaureate program that requires a minimum of 124 credit hours to graduate. (Section 173.1181)
A+ SCHOOLS PROGRAM: This act repeals the reimbursement portion of the A+ Schools Program for the cost of tuition, books, and fees for students. (Section 160.545)
ACCESS MISSOURI: This act removes the requirement that an Access Missouri award be reduced by the amount of a student's A+ Schools reimbursement. (Section 173.1105)
This act is similar to SS/SCS/SB 558 (2009) and HB 903 (2009).