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KQ2: US Senator Recognizes Local Volunteers

May 01, 2018

United States Senator Roy Blunt has been touring the state to promote changes to federal Pell Grants. On Tuesday, Blunt made a stop at Missouri Western State University to present awards for the 27th annual Literacy Luncheon. The Roy Blunt Literacy Citation was created by the senator in 1991 to promote literacy and adult education.

The luncheon honored volunteers like Tracy Angold, for her time working with adult literacy programs. Officers from the St. Joseph Police Department were also honored as the recipients of the Leadership in Literacy award for their time spent volunteering with second graders during the summer reading retention program.

“Just like walking across the stage and leaving with a diploma or a trade certificate, or whatever you get put in your hand when you walk across that stage, that’s a big moment. But it’s also a big moment when you can sit down for the first time and read a story to your kids,” Blunt said.

The senator also spent some time talking about the increase to federal pell grants. In 2017, Blunt worked to help increase federal pell grants by approximately three percent, or $175 per grant awarded. The grants, distributed on the base of economic need, helps over 130,000 students get an education.

“Forty percent of the students here at Missouri Western and one out of three students in our state receive pell grants from the federal government,”Blunt said.

The pell grant will also expand to cover summer coursework. Blunt estimates 20,000 Missouri students will take advantage of the extended financial aid this summer.

“The ability to go to school in the summertime, not to break your pattern, dramatically increases the likelihood that you are going to achieve what you are there to achieve,” Blunt said.

Senator Blunt will continue touring colleges and universities throughout the state for the remainder of the week.

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