Iqra Aden was one of hundreds of students across the Kansas City area who a scholarship of $10,000 a year for up to five years to attend the University of Missouri.
"I'm feeling ecstatic, and shocked," the Lincoln College Preparatory Academy senior said after getting the news Monday.
Aden is one of eight children in a family with only one working parent. So the financial assistance will make all the difference.
Up to 800 Kansas City high school students will be awarded the scholarships over the next eight years. MU Chancellor Alexander Cartwright announced $40 million in funding for the program from a partnership between the Columbia campus, the University of Missouri System and KC Scholars.
"Eight hundred lives changed, I like to say," said KC Scholars President Beth Tankersley-Bankhead. "And 800 individuals that this means everything to them. Their ability to go to college, oftentimes the ability to go to a four-year campus."
Cartwright said the scholarships are a continuation of Mizzou's partnership with KC Scholars, which already provides school money to 500 Kansas City high school students each year.
"We've really been thinking about how to continue to provide access and to consider access to opportunity," Cartwright told KCUR.
A spokesman for the university said 45 percent of MU graduates leave with zero student debt. Cartwright said decreasing the cost of a college education is one of his priorities.
After receiving one of the scholarships Monday, Lincoln Prep senior Marjai Neal said the money will make a huge difference for her family.
"This is a lot of financial support. This is a new future for me and my family," Neal said. "And Mizzou is my dream school."