Senator David Pearce – Governor Signs Higher Education Bill Into Law

Pearce - Banner - News Release 2013 - 010313 copy

JEFFERSON CITY — At the University of Central Missouri today, the governor signed into law Senate Bill 997, sponsored by Senator David Pearce, R-Warrensburg. The bill, which was largely patterned after the Coordinating Board for Higher Education’s “Blueprint for Higher Education” report, contains several provisions relating to Missouri higher education.  These provisions include scholarship program enactments, dual credit certification, student loan forgiveness and financial aid for veterans, among other measures.

“For many years, I’ve been working to enact meaningful legislation that will better our state’s higher education system,” Senator Pearce said. “This comprehensive bill is going to improve the futures of students, faculty and higher education institutions across the board, and I’m extremely proud to have sponsored it on its way to becoming law this Session.”

Senate Bill 997 contains provisions establishing three scholarship programs for students seeking degrees. The “Dual Credit Scholarship Act” will provide funds for eligible students who are enrolled in dual credit courses, allowing them to earn college credit while enrolled in high school. The “15 to Finish Act” is also established under SB 997, which tasks the state to work with public higher education institutions to develop policies and programs that encourage Missouri students’ on-time degree completion. The third degree program established by the bill, the “Guided Pathways to Success Act,” will help students tailor and streamline their degree programs to be more efficient and attainable.

One measure in Senate Bill 997 reauthorizes the Wartime Veteran’s Survivor Grant Program, which provides financial aid to the spouses and children of Missouri veterans. The program seeks to help the families of injured veterans achieve educational success, with the financial aid being offered for five years subsequent to the veteran’s injury or death.
“This is an incredibly helpful bill for the many Missouri families who have suffered the negative consequences of war,” Sen. Pearce said. “The effects of wartime injuries extend far beyond the battlefield, and often hurt entire families as they struggle to rebuild. This program will ensure the children and spouses of our brave veterans receive the help they need to be as successful as possible in their higher education careers.”

Also included in the bill are provisions allowing a student to enroll in a community college and a four-year college at the same time, regulations regarding public service loan forgiveness notification and improvements to the college credit transfer system.

“This bill will improve the efficiency of higher education, and will help students and families achieve greater success when navigating their college careers,” Sen. Pearce said. “I’ve worked for many years on improving higher education in our state, and see this bill’s passage as the culmination of a long career spent helping students, teachers and universities realize a brighter future.”

For a complete listing of the provisions contained within Senate Bill 997, please visit