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KC Scholars, MU, UM System will provide $40 million in scholarships for Kansas City students

Over the next eight years, 800 additional students will receive $10,000 scholarships that can be renewed for up to five years

December 17th, 2018

Story Contact: Cailin Riley, 573-882-4870,

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Leaders from the University of Missouri and KC Scholars announced today that they are creating college opportunities for 800 additional students from Greater Kansas City over the next eight years.

MU Chancellor Alexander N. Cartwright announced the new scholarship program today at North Kansas City High School. KC Scholars will contribute $20 million, while MU and the University of Missouri System will contribute $10 million each, for a total commitment of $40 million.

KC Scholars, launched in 2016, currently awards approximately 500 college scholarships annually for students from the Kansas City metro region to attend one of 17 partner colleges and universities in Missouri and Kansas, including MU. Currently, 46 KC Scholars awardees are enrolled at MU, the largest proportion of KC Scholars students at any college or university. The new funding will support 800 additional scholarships at MU over the next several years, each worth $10,000 per year for up to five years, for students who choose to enroll at MU.

“This commitment will take our partnership with KC Scholars to a new level,” MU Chancellor Alexander N. Cartwright said. “KC Scholars works hard to provide financial assistance to students who want to attend college, and this partnership will ensure that even more students who qualify for KC Scholars will benefit from this important effort. We are dedicated to our pursuit of eliminating financial barriers for students from Missouri and the Kansas City region who want to come to Mizzou.”

This announcement reflects a commitment of the UM System’s Promise and Opportunity Scholarships program. Last September, UM System President Mun Choi announced that the system would invest $100 million in scholarships — $75 million of which will be used for Promise and Opportunity Scholarships.

“We have been focused on creating pathways to success for students and stakeholders who want to invest in the University of Missouri,” UM System President Mun Choi said. “The system’s investment in the KC Scholars program is another way for us to provide more opportunities for talented students to achieve their full potential.”

“We at KC Scholars are thrilled with the $20 million matching commitment from MU funding up to 800 additional scholarships for area high school students,” said Terry Bassham, president and CEO of Evergy and a KC Scholars board member. “The Kansas City-area business community recognizes that it goes a long way to help fill the workforce pipeline our economy desperately needs. I am confident the region’s philanthropic community will step up to match MU’s $20 million.”

The first students to benefit from this agreement will enroll at MU in fall 2019. The new scholars applied earlier this year and were eligible, but there were not enough funds. Students eligible for the KC Scholars traditional scholarship must be juniors in high schools in one of six counties in the Kansas City region, have at least a 2.5 GPA and present a financial need for additional support. The counties included are Johnson and Wyandotte counties in Kansas, and Platte, Clay, Cass and Jackson counties in Missouri.

“We are grateful that MU selected to invest in KC Scholars and in our incredible Kansas City metro students,” said Beth Tankersley-Bankhead, president and CEO of KC Scholars. “As a first-generation college student myself, I understand that earning a degree changes the trajectory of one’s life.”