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Financial Aid - Issue Briefs - Publication Number: IB01-2 (November 14, 2001)

Meeting Need and Rewarding Talent--Status of Undergraduate Financial Aid at University of Missouri

The fundamental rationale for student financial aid is to provide educational opportunities for students who are "needy and deserving." How well are student financial aid programs at the University of Missouri serving these purposes? This Issue Brief provides basic descriptive data on the status of undergraduate student financial aid by need, academic discipline, student level, and ethnicity.

Does the University of Missouri share the similar tendency for student aid to be used to help institutions recruit academically well-prepared students? Is there a conflict between trying to attract students of high academic ability and attempting to attract an economically, socially, and ethnically diverse student body?
Total financial aid from institutional sources include dollars awarded based on need and merit. These types of programs include athletic, employment, and tuition and fee remissions or waivers.

The amount of the need-based grants to University of Missouri undergraduates has increased over the years, ranging from a 160% increase at UMSL to 73% at both UMC and UMKC. UMR did not provide this type of assistance. Table 1 (PDF 42 KB)

All four campuses reported a significant decrease in need-based loans for undergraduates from institutional sources. UMSL stopped providing need-based loans in FY2000. UMC reported a 59% reduction in the amount of need-based loans given; UMR, 23%; and UMKC, 5%. Table 1 (PDF 42 KB)

The Higher Education Academic Scholarship Program, also called Bright Flight, is a state merit- based scholarship program designed to encourage top-ranked high school seniors to attend approved Missouri postsecondary schools. It has been the most important source of financial aid from the State of Missouri for our campuses. Nearly 50% of the State's total Bright Flight money has been awarded to the University of Missouri. Table 2 (PDF 43 KB)

The Charles Gallagher Student Financial Assistance Program, also called Missouri Student Grants Program, is a state need-based grant program for Missouri citizens to access to Missouri postsecondary education. There has been a 5% increase in the total amount awarded to University of Missouri in the last five years. This percentage is double the amount of five years ago, illustrating an increased need for financial aid. Table 2 (PDF 43 KB)

More freshmen received financial aid dollars than upper-divisional students, except at UMC. The difference was the most pronounced at UMKC and UMSL campuses. In FY2000, 17% more UMKC freshmen received financial aid than seniors; and 16% more UMSL freshmen received aid dollars than seniors. Table 3 (PDF 45 KB)

The highest percentage receiving financial aid was those students majoring in math/science on the three campuses (In this report, mathematics combined mathematics, computer and information sciences, biological sciences, life sciences, physical sciences). UMKC mathematics majors, however, ranked in the lowest percentiles to have received the aid money. Humanities students at UMC and UMR, as well as engineering and business students at UMSL, were among the lowest percentiles to have received financial aid dollars. Table 4 (PDF 46 KB)

About 85% of the African-American students received financial aid. Table 5 (PDF 39 45) At the same time, more African-American students (18%) have accumulated a loan debt of $20,001 or higher than any other ethnic groups. Table 6 (PDF 49 KB)

Over the past three years, the percentage of students in debt did not increase significantly at the University of Missouri. Approximately 50% of all undergraduates were debt free.

Reviewed July 17, 2013.