Legislature Takes Look at Post-Secondary Scholarships

Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau

The legislative task force charged with coming up with a way to pay for postsecondary scholarships for some of the state’s smartest students is finding they need some explanation of what the Parnell administration’s bill requires –before they come up with enough money to pay for it.

As an example of the confusion left after the legislature approved the program this Spring, Homer Republican Paul Seaton asked at a meeting this morning about the amount of time that successful students will have to use their grants. He says the scholarship is valid for only eight semesters, but the University in Anchorage shows that only 16 percent of students – and only 25 percent of the students in Fairbanks – graduate over that four year period.

Diane Barrans, the executive director of the state’s Post secondary Education Commission, said that’s come up before and needs to be addressed. Only part of the issue can be dealt with by regulation, and students will be informed that the value of their scholarship will decrease if they take less than a full load of courses.

The task force will next meet on October 8 in Fairbanks with a report due to the full Legislature and the governor by December 1.

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