Bright Flight Program
The Missouri Higher Education Academic Scholarship Program is a merit-based program that encourages top-ranked high school seniors to attend approved Missouri postsecondary schools.
Am I eligible?
To be eligible, you must meet the following requirements:
- Be a Missouri resident and a United States citizen or permanent resident.
- Have a composite score on the ACT or SAT in either:
- the top 3 percent of all Missouri students taking those tests, or
- the top 4th or 5th percentiles of all Missouri students taking those tests.
The qualifying score must be achieved by the June test date immediately following your graduation from high school. Please note the score achieved on the July test date immediately following your graduation from high school does not qualify for the Bright Flight scholarship program. (Only composite test scores achieved on national test dates or on special test dates approved by the testing companies are acceptable. Test scores from residual tests are not acceptable.)
- Enroll as a first-time student and receive the scholarship in the academic year immediately following high school graduation, receipt of your General Education Development certificate, or completion of your secondary coursework, if home-schooled.
- Enroll full time at a participating Missouri school. Full-time enrollment is defined as a minimum of:
- 12 semester hours, or
- 6 semester hours for students who are unable to enroll in 12 hours as a result of a disability defined by Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
- Submit supplemental eligibility information, if requested, by the deadline established by the MDHEWD.
- Not be pursuing a degree or certificate in theology or divinity.
- Continue to meet the eligibility requirements for initial students.
- Receive the scholarship at least one semester each academic year, beginning with the academic year immediately following your senior year in high school, receipt of the GED, or completion of your secondary coursework, if home-schooled.
- Maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.5 and otherwise maintain satisfactory academic progress as defined by your school. If this is the first academic year in which you have received a Bright Flight payment, this requirement does not apply.
Individuals who have graduated from Missouri’s virtual public school, have completed a home-school program or have obtained a certificate of high school equivalence by passing the GED exam may be considered for the scholarship program. GED students must submit a copy of their GED certificate to:
Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development
Attn: Bright Flight
P.O. Box 1469
Jefferson City, MO 65102-1469
What is the qualifying score and how much can I receive?
The qualifying ACT and SAT scores for students who will graduate in the current academic year are re-evaluated and announced each fall. These qualifying scores are based on the scores of students who were high school seniors in the previous academic year. For example, the 2019-2020 qualifying scores are based on the test results of all 2018 Missouri high school seniors. Because the minimum score is set by a percent of test takers, that score is subject to change annually.
If you took the ACT or SAT as a high school junior or sophomore, your score will be accepted as long as it meets the qualifying score(s) announced during your senior year in high school.
The following table displays the qualifying ACT scores, along with the statutory maximum and final award amounts for the 2018 high school graduates (attending college during the 2018-2019 academic year) and the 2019 high school graduates (attending college during the 2019-2020 academic year). The final award amounts are dependent on the amount of funds allocated for the program during the 2018 legislative session for the 2018 graduates, and the 2019 legislative session for the 2019 graduates. Final award amounts are typically set in August each year.
2018 High School Graduates
2019 High School Graduates
ACT Score 31 or above
|Up to $3,000||$3,000||Up to $3,000||$3,000|
ACT Score 30
|Up to $1,000||$0||Up to $1,000||$0|
Qualifying SAT scores for 2018 and 2019 high school graduates are not yet available.
Award amounts are not available during summer terms.
How can I apply?
There is no Bright Flight application to complete. The MDHEWD will receive your ACT or SAT composite score(s), along with approved Missouri college or university choices, from your ACT or SAT assessment records. It takes approximately six to eight weeks after each national test date for the MDHEWD to receive assessment information.
How will I know if I am eligible?
Eligible students will receive approval letters from the MDHE for qualifying scores achieved by the June ACT and SAT test dates. Information about your eligibility status is also available by logging into the Student Portal. You must elect to upgrade your access in the portal to view your eligibility information.
- Approval letters are provided beginning in the spring of your senior year in high school.
You will be notified if you did not indicate any Missouri school choices or if you provided conflicting information (for example, information indicating you are a Missouri resident but not a U.S. citizen). To safeguard your eligibility, we recommend that you always choose at least one approved Missouri school when you take the ACT or SAT, even if you plan to attend school in another state.
If you have upgraded your account in the Student Portal, you can choose to receive these notices as well as the approval letter in electronic or paper format.
The following deadlines apply to changes to your eligibility record with the MDHEWD:
If you are a 2019 high school graduate who has achieved the qualifying score, MDHEWD has established a deadline of July 31, 2019 for most eligibility corrections. If you do not provide all necessary information to MDHEWD by the deadline, you will be considered a late applicant and your award will be subject to funding availability.
Completion of the FAFSA is not required to receive a Bright Flight scholarship. However, if you elect to complete a FAFSA, information on that application or updates to it can impact your eligibility for Bright Flight even if you have previously been notified of your eligibility. Use the Student Portal to check your current eligibility status.
If you do not provide all necessary information to the MDHEWD by the deadline, you will be considered a late applicant and your award will be subject to funding availability, even if you have previously received an approval letter.
How will I receive my award?
Each semester the school you are attending will certify your eligibility. The certification process occurs electronically in real-time. Schools typically certify eligibility at the beginning of each semester, although they can do so through the end of the semester.
If your school certifies you are eligible, the MDHEWD will disburse your award within 3-5 business days of the certification. Your school will then deliver it to you. Delivery timeframes can vary from school to school.
How long can I renew my scholarship?
The scholarship may be renewed annually for up to 10 semesters or until you have completed a bachelor's degree, whichever occurs first.
How do I transfer my scholarship?
If you choose to transfer to a different participating Missouri school, either between academic years or semesters, you must contact the MDHEWD at (800) 473-6757, option 4. Failure to notify the MDHEWD of the transfer may result in loss of the scholarship.
Can the scholarship be deferred?
If you are unable to attend school for an entire academic year you may qualify for a deferment of your scholarship eligibility. Acceptable reasons for deferment include:
- Participation in a high school student exchange program
- Service in a nonprofit organization or a state or federal government agency
- Service on active duty in the armed forces of the United States
- Documented medical reasons
You may defer your scholarship eligibility for up to 27 continuous months for participation in a high school student exchange program, service in a nonprofit organization or a state or federal government agency or for medical reasons.
You may defer your scholarship eligibility due to service on active duty in the armed forces of the United States for the length of your time of service, as long as you return to full-time status within six months after you first cease service to the armed forces.
You should apply for the deferment as soon as you are aware there will be a break in your attendance. If you are unable to attend school for one semester within an academic year, a deferment of your scholarship eligibility is not necessary.
You must submit a written request for deferment to:Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development
Attn: Bright Flight
P.O. Box 1469
Jefferson City, MO 65102-1469