Starting your journey in higher education — or continuing it after a long absence — can be an exciting endeavor or a terrifying excursion into confusion. It isn’t enough to get accepted into college. You must plan how you’re going to pay for it. And, with the steadily escalating cost of higher education, finding affordable financing for your dreams can confuse and irritate even the most ardent prospective student. With an average cost of attendance of $29,224, 58% of Missouri students graduate with student loan debt.
Fortunately, individual states, private lenders, and the federal government have programs and incentives to help you pay for college. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to find that information in one place. In this article, we’ll provide you with a solid launching pad for your college financing. Wherever possible, we’ll include links to help you find further information.
This is not a comprehensive list. We encourage you to do some investigation on your own by talking to lenders and your chosen institution. But, hopefully, you’ll find some useful resources here to help you start your educational journey with less worry and frustration.
As part of our state by state guide to financial aid, below you will find our round up of scholarships, grants, and student loans in Missouri.
What Scholarship Programs Does Missouri Have?
Many people’s concept of college comes with the idea of the vaunted scholarship. Of course, the most common sort of award we hear about regularly is the sports scholarship, which institutions grant to particular athletes on a case-by-case basis. But, there are other scholarship options.
While most scholarships don’t offer a great deal of financial support, the awards provided often help defray the costs of textbooks or contribute a little extra badly needed cash. Almost all scholarships come with very specific qualifications that must be met to apply. In this section, we’ll run through a few of the most prominent scholarship options for students in Missouri and provide links to find more information.
The Marguerite Ross Barnett Memorial Scholarship works well for part-time students who work while pursuing their degree. Eligible students should be regularly employed for at least 20 hours per week and enrolled at least part-time in one of the 20 participating institutions.
The amount of the award depends on how many credit hours are taken and covers the cost of tuition up to 9 credit hours. Applicants must be residents of Missouri and employed someplace other than the Work-Study program, and must demonstrate financial need through a FAFSA application.
If you’ve graduated from an A+ registered high school and desire higher education in either a participating community college or a vocational/technical school, you may be eligible for the A+ Scholarship Program. This scholarship program kicks in after deducting all other financial awards and grants from your tuition and can cover up to 175.25 per credit hour.
Eligible students must complete a FAFSA application, have a minimum of 2.5-grade point average at the time of graduation, be a Missouri resident, and have achieved a grade above 17 on their ACT. The threshold for their ACT score depends on their graduating GPA, so make sure to consult with your school’s financial aid office. There is no independent application for the scholarship, and awards are based on your FAFSA.
Otherwise known as the Missouri Higher Education Academic Scholarship, the Bright Flight scholarship works to provide funding to the most dedicated students in Missouri. Enrollment is automatic based on your overall ACT or SAT scores, so there is no application to fill out. If awarded with a Bright Flight scholarship, you receive approval notification directly from the Missouri Department of Higher Education.
The highest possible award for a Bright Flight Scholarship is $3,000 for scores of 31 or higher for the ACT or an SAT Math score of 800 AND a critical reading score of 770 and above. Most scholarship awards for any scores lower than those mentioned are $1000 or less. You don’t need to fill out a FAFSA for eligibility, but the results of your FAFSA can impact the amount of the award.
What Grant Programs Does Missouri Have?
Another terrific financing option for qualifying students is academic grants. Like scholarships, they’re a gift of a specific award that you don’t need to pay back, and they often have much looser academic restrictions for eligibility. You apply for many educational grants, like the Pell Grant, directly through your FAFSA application.
In this section, we’ll explore some of the most prominent grant programs Missouri offers with additional details on how to apply for them where applicable. If you have any questions about relevant grant programs, contact your school’s financial aid office, or click on the links provided.
The Access Missouri Program, much like the Federal Pell Grant, provides financial assistance for those in need. And, like the Pell Grant, your need and eligibility are determined by your FAFSA application, so there is no other paperwork to fill out. The program awards eligible participants up to $2,850 annually for a 4-year college, or $1,300 for a 2-year public school.
To qualify, you must be a US Citizen and a Missouri resident and enrolled in a participating Missouri school. You cannot be a student of divinity or theology. Also, you cannot have received a bachelor’s degree already or completed 150 credit hours in any program.
This grant is an incentive program for students enrolled in Advanced Placement courses in high school. Those who do well on the Advanced Placement exam in certain subjects are eligible for a one time grant of $500 if they also received a grant from the A+ scholarship program or the Access Missouri Grant Program, and the total awards for those programs equal zero.
The Advanced Placement Incentive Grant is specific to students studying math or science and requires a grade of 3 or higher in at least two AP exams in those fields. You must complete an application to be eligible for this grant, and you can’t renew it for another semester. The rewards are distributed directly to your chosen school to be used specifically on educational expenses such as books and dormitory expenses.
The state of Missouri designed this grant program to help minority students pursue a career in the environmental sciences such as wildlife management, geology, and civil engineering. Eligible students must be enrolled in a specific ecological program at an accredited institution, and come recommended by the Minority Environmental Literacy Advisory Committee.
The amount of the award is determined annually, but this grant is renewable. Eligible candidates must be a US Citizen, a Missouri resident, have a 3.0 GPA in high school, or maintained a 2.5 GPA if already in college. All applications (even renewal applications) must be submitted by June 1st of every year.
If you’re a child of a veteran who died or received severe injuries as a result of combat action since September 11, 2001, you may be eligible for a specific grant from the state of Missouri. There are only 25 of these grants awarded per year. The program calculates the total award amount by adding the in-state tuition cost of your school or the in-state tuition of the University of Missouri at Columbus (whichever is lower) as well as several other factors. It can total as much as $5,450.
The award provides money for not only tuition but books and room and board. Eligible students must verify their parent’s veteran status, and they must complete eligibility information, which will be reviewed by the Missouri Veteran’s Commission, who make the final assessment for acceptance. Students must also be enrolled in participating schools and be a US Citizen or permanent resident.
What Student Loan Programs Does Missouri Have?
Missouri doesn’t offer or provide any state-specific student loan options independently of standard Federal Student Aid through FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid.) But, by filling out a FAFSA application, you become eligible for a variety of needs-based education grants that we’ll discuss later.
If you’re looking for alternative loan options, however, you can consider private student loans independent of the FAFSA system. Many banks and several private lenders cater to returning students, or first-time scholars seeking stable financing outside of the typical federal student loan sources.
Federal student loans
Prospective Missouri students can receive federal financial aid assistance by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid(FAFSA).
Private co-signed student loans
There are many private student loan opportunities for those who need additional assistance on top of federal student loans. Many banks, credit unions, and dedicated lending companies offer private student loans, but almost all require a co-signer.
No co-signer student loans in Missouri
Funding U began because we identified thousands of students who were unable to qualify for a private student loan because they didn’t have an eligible co-signer. While we’re no longer the only provider of such loans, we offer no co-signer student loans to career-focused students currently enrolled full time in college. The requirements for receiving a loan are dependent upon the GPA of the student and the graduation rate of the institution they attend. To learn more about our no co-signer student loans click here.
What Schools Does Funding U Lend To In Missouri?
Generally speaking, Funding U’s no co-signer loans are offered to students at eligible four-year, non-profit, undergraduate degree-granting universities (which means we do not lend to for-profit schools, 2-year schools, graduate schools, or trade schools). Our eligibility requirements are based on models that aim to predict how likely a student is to graduate, and because of that we have minimum GPA requirements that students must meet and minimum 6-year graduation rates that schools must reach in order to be eligible. To find out more about how we determine our eligibility, click here.
Below is a table listing all of the schools in Missouri that Funding U is currently lending to, with additional details on which grades we are currently lending to, based on the school’s 6 year graduation rate.
|Baptist Bible College||No||No||No||No||41||62|
|Central Christian College of the Bible||No||No||No||No||47||58|
|Central Methodist University-College of Liberal Arts and Sciences||No||No||No||No||40||68|
|College of the Ozarks||No||No||Yes||Yes||66||74|
|Columbia College (Missouri)||No||No||No||No||30||69|
|Conception Seminary College||No||No||No||No||29||45|
|Harris-Stowe State University||No||No||No||No||9||55|
|Kansas City Art Institute||No||No||Yes||Yes||61||77|
|Kenrick Glennon Seminary||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||100||83|
|Lincoln University (Missouri)||No||No||No||No||21||53|
|Maryville University of Saint Louis||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||72||83|
|Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary||No||No||No||No||10||40|
|Missouri Baptist University||No||No||No||No||36||59|
|Missouri Southern State University||No||No||No||No||33||65|
|Missouri State University-Springfield||No||No||Yes||Yes||54||77|
|Missouri University of Science and Technology||No||No||Yes||Yes||63||81|
|Missouri Valley College||No||No||No||No||23||45|
|Missouri Western State University||No||No||No||No||34||66|
|Northwest Missouri State University||No||No||No||No||49||73|
|Ozark Christian College||No||No||Yes||Yes||52||71|
|Saint Louis Christian College||No||No||Yes||Yes||65||21|
|Saint Louis University||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||77||90|
|Southeast Missouri State University||No||No||No||No||49||75|
|Southwest Baptist University||No||No||No||No||48||64|
|St. Louis College of Pharmacy||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||85||86|
|Truman State University||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||72||86|
|University of Central Missouri||No||No||No||No||49||72|
|University of Missouri-Columbia||No||No||Yes||Yes||69||87|
|University of Missouri-Kansas City||No||No||No||No||49||75|
|University of Missouri-St Louis||No||No||Yes||Yes||52||75|
|Washington University in St Louis||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||95||97|
|Westminster College (Missouri)||No||No||Yes||Yes||58||73|
|William Jewell College||No||No||Yes||Yes||65||78|
|William Woods University||No||No||Yes||Yes||58||77|
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