Bright Flight Scholarship eligibility changes for 2023

Bright Flight Scholarship Eligibility Changes For 2023 2
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MISSOURI – A Missouri statewide scholarship could be harder for students to get due to eligibility changes.

The ACT score requirement for the Higher Education Academic Scholarship (Bright Flight) will be increasing to 32 or above. The change goes into effect for students graduating high school in 2023.

Since 2008, students have needed a score of 31 or above on the ACT to receive the maximum $3,000 award.

The Bright Flight scholarship is a merit-based program that started in 1986.  In accordance with Missouri statutes, eligibility is based on a “composite score on the ACT or the SAT achieved in a student’s high school sophomore, junior, or senior year that is in the top five percent of Missouri test-takers.”

Scholarship eligibility changes

So, what do these changes mean for students?

  • Students must achieve a score on the ACT or SAT in the top 3 percent to receive an award of $3,000.
  • Students scoring in the top fourth and fifth percentiles are eligible for an award of up to $1,000.

Looking Forward

In addition to the change in ACT eligibility score, the department plans to begin accepting “superscores” which would also allow a student to qualify. A “superscore” is the average of the four best subject scores (English, math, reading and science) across all ACT tests taken by an individual. Consequently, a student must have scores from at least two test administrations for ACT to calculate a superscore. This change will begin with the 2022-2023 high school seniors.

ACT announced it will provide an automatically calculated ACT superscore to all test takers. This approach remains consistent with the statutory definition of a qualifying score, since a superscore is considered a composite score.

The department has not yet received the necessary information to determine qualifying SAT scores for the 2023 seniors from the College Board. Due to the small number of students taking the SAT, any score change should not impact students that qualify with only an SAT score.

Amount Awarded

The Missouri Department of Higher Education & Workforce Development awarded more than $17.6 million to 7,840 Bright Flight recipients in 2021.

There were 45,530 high school senior test-takers in 2021. The top 3 percent have moved from a score of 31 to a score of 32, while the fourth and fifth percentiles have moved to a 30 and 31. Besides changing the required score to a 31 in 2008, the score had remained at 30 for over 20 years.

Each new legislative session determines the final amount of funds allocated to students.

You can learn more about the Bright Flight scholarship here.