Access Missouri, Pell Awards To Increase For Missouri College Students This Fall

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Some Missouri college students will be getting extra help paying their tuition bills this upcoming school year.

Awards for both the federal Pell grant program and the state's Access Missouri program will increase this fall.

At Missouri State University in Springfield, about a third of the students receive Pell grants and about a quarter receive access Missouri.

Covering the cost of college is like mixing a cocktail for many college students like Danny Redden.
In his case, work, help from home, loans and grants all come together as he works towards a marketing degree.

"I had an internship this summer, some savings from that go toward school, and financial aid as well, I receive a Pell grant, and just a bit of family contribution as well, some stuff my parents have saved up for me for college," Redden said.

The maximum awards for both Pell grants and Access Missouri are going up this school year, and in the case of Access Missouri, more so than in the past.

The maximum Pell award amount is going up by about $40. At four year schools, the maximum Access Missouri award is increasing from $1,850 to $2,250. At 2-year schools, it is a bump from $850 to $1,030.

To a college student, $400 can cover books for a semester.

"It’s absolutely vital, in particular the fact that our tuition hasn't increased for the last several years,” said MSU Financial Aid Director Vicki Mattocks. “So the more grant money that's available each year, the easier it is for students to make their payments and decline some of their loans."

This is the time of year students look at those financial aid packages and decide what they need to take out in loans.

"We are obligated to offer them the maximum they can get by the government, but their obligation then is to determine do I really need that maximum or can I get by with less," Mattocks said.

For students like Redden, grants are the cocktail ingredient he has to worry about the least.

"Without those it would be a lot more stressful, I’d probably have to do the community college route for a couple years and just kind of go from there,” Redden said. “But fortunately with that I’ve been able to start at the university level and work my way through, so it helps."

About 50,000 Missouri college students receive Access Missouri grants each year.

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