Missouri Governor Jay Nixon visited Missouri Southern State University today to highlight more funding towards a scholarship program.
Ashley Burns, a junior student at Missouri Southern State University, is budgeting her life.
"It was extremely important for me to find, at least for undergrad, to make sure I was going to graduate debt-free," says Burns.
The keywords "graduate higher education debt-free" may seem foreign to many people. But Burns did her best to make it happen. She qualified for a scholarship called Access Missouri.
"I had to meet a requirement of my parents' level of income," says Burns.
Access Missouri is based off a student's need. Burns could now qualify for even more of that scholarship money.
"I think this is a right investment for our state," says Missouri Governor Jay Nixon.
Governor Nixon says the maximum award amount for Access Missouri scholarships is increasing for this upcoming school year by 21 percent. Students could get $2,250 for four-year institutions, up from $1,850, and $1,030 for two-year institutions, up from $850.
"Access is basically our only needs-based scholarship program," says Governor Nixon.
Governor Nixon says it's important to address low-income student debt from college.
"It takes them longer time to get going in their career because they're having to spend time paying-off that debt," says Governor Nixon.
But now that there's more money for Access Missouri, consider the best-case scenario for Burns and other students.
"Bumping it up to around twenty-two hundred fifty dollars, this Access Missouri grant, that's fantastic, considering tuition is usually around three-thousand dollars for me," says Burns.
Twenty-eight percent of MSSU students, or 1,500 students, receive the Access Missouri scholarship, totaling $2.4 million. Fifty-thousand students state-wide receive the scholarship annually.
"Ever since I was really little, there was no doubt that I was going to go to college. But then, as you grow up, you realize that money is a huge obstacle to overcome," says Burns.
But Burns says the more scholarship funding, the more dreams come true.
The Access Missouri scholarship is only available to students at certain educational institutions. Click here to find out more about the scholarship.
KOAM - Licensed to Pittsburg, Kansas