Gov. Jay Nixon today visited Truman State University in Kirksville to announce his plan to enhance Missouri's Bright Flight scholarship program and encourage more high-achieving students to stay and work in Missouri after graduating from college. The Governor said that with an additional $15 million in his balanced budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2015, Bright Flight Boost would offer Bright Flight scholars the option of receiving an additional $5,000 per year on the condition that they pursue employment in Missouri after they graduate.
"College affordability has been among my administration's top priorities, and by strengthening this successful scholarship program, we'll keep more of our best and brightest here at home so they can contribute their talent to our 21st-century economy," Gov. Nixon said. "For the state, Bright Flight Boost is a smart investment with a big return in the form of a well-educated, highly-qualified workforce. For students, it's a significant incentive to not only go to college, but also to graduate and then stay to pursue rewarding careers and follow their dreams in the Show-Me State."
To be eligible for Bright Flight Boost, students must be a Missouri resident and a United States citizen or permanent resident, and have a composite score on the ACT or SAT in the top 3 percent of all Missouri students taking those tests. Bright Flight Boost will offer scholarship recipients the option of an additional $5,000 award each year for four years, if they commit to staying and working full-time in Missouri, after they've earned their college degree or credential, for each year that they received this additional award. If the graduate pursues employment outside of Missouri prior to the completion of their commitment, they would have to pay the remaining award back to the state.
Nearly 20 percent of Truman State undergraduates are receiving Bright Flight scholarships, making it one of the top choices for Bright Flight scholars.
"Here at Truman State University, we are committed to providing students with a world-class education that will help them to rise to the very top of whatever field they choose," said Truman State University President Troy Paino. "As the one of the top choices for Bright Flight scholars, we applaud Governor Nixon's innovative proposal that will ensure the state's investment in these high-achieving students pays off in the form of a workforce that is ready to compete for the best jobs in the 21st century economy."
"Making sure a college education is affordable continues to be a top priority of my administration," Gov. Nixon said. "Through targeted investments like Bright Flight Boost, we will help more Missouri families send their kids to college and more students start their careers without a heavy burden of debt."
Gov. Nixon has made public higher education and college affordability a top priority. Since the Governor took office, Missouri's A-Plus Schools program has been implemented statewide and is now available to 99 percent of public high school students who meet the program requirements. The Governor has also made strategic investments to boost enrollment in high-growth, high-demand fields through programs like Caring for Missourians, MoHealthWins, and MoManufacturingWins. Over the past five years, Missouri has also led the nation in minimizing tuition increases at its public colleges and universities.