Bright Flight - Missouri scholarship

Bright Flight is a Missouri merit-based scholarship in the amount of $1500 per annum (formerly $2000) to Missouri's qualifying graduating high school seniors who enroll in a Missouri accredited college or university. From June 2004 to July 2005, 8390 students were enrolled in the Bright Flight program, which totaled over $15 million in state expenditures.

Qualifications and renewal

* To qualify for Bright Flight, a student must be in the top 3% of his or her state-wide high school class as determined by normalized tests, the ACT and SAT composite scores. To date, a score of 31 or above on the ACT or an SAT-equivalent score qualifies, but the score needed changes every year. It is not unheard of for a 27 to qualify. A score of 31 will be needed to qualify for the 2008-2009 school year.
* Students must maintain at least a 2.5 GPA in college and full-time student status to renew the scholarship, which can be renewed for up to five years for a maximum compensation of $7,500.
* Students must not be pursuing a degree in theology or divinity.
* Bright Flight students must attend school continuously, that is, they cannot cease attending school unless they worked for a non-profit organization or held a government job/served for the armed services. Academic interruption must not exceed 27 months.


Appropriated by the Missouri General Assembly in 1986, students have not seen an increase in awarded monies since Bright Flight's introduction. Many students and higher education officials have observed that tuition expenses at the University of Missouri, for example, were below $2000 in 1987 and thus were fully covered by Bright Flight at its introduction. In 2006, following a period of increases in tuition expenses that easily outpaced inflation, Bright Flight covered only a fraction of the more than $7000 a typical student spent on tuition at the University of Missouri.

Recent developments

Congruent bills HB 1428 and SB 662, introduced in the Missouri House and Senate by sponsors Representative Edward Robb and Senator Jason Crowell, respectively, propose to double the scholarship amount to $4000. The purpose of the legislation will be to increase the attractiveness of Missouri higher level institutions for top qualifying Missouri high school graduates.

The next hearing for HB 1428 will be held on January 31, 2006, before the Higher Education Committee. A hearing was recently held January 24, 2006, before the Education Committee for Senate Bill 662. The Effective Date for SB 662 has been set at August 28, 2006, or the beginning of the fall term for many Missouri universities.


In order for either bill to become law, it must be approved by both the House and the Senate before facing final approval from the governor, Matt Blunt, who recently increased Higher Education spending by 2%.

HB 1231, sponsored by Representative Jim Avery (95) and co-sponsored by Representative Jane Cunningham (86), would provide Bright Flight to students attending an out-of-state institution for programs not offered by Missouri schools. It was referred to the Higher Education Committee on January 19, 2006, however, a hearing is not scheduled.

On August 12, 2010, state budget cuts reduced the amount from $2000/year to $1500/year.


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