Senate Finance Passes Scholarship Bill with Part of Fund Reserved for Needs-Based Assistance

The Governor will likely get a scholarship bill from the Senate, but not quite the one he wants. The Senate Finance Committee Friday approved a plan of requirements for state-funded scholarships for Alaska colleges or vocational schools.  The Legislature has set up a 400 million-dollar fund to pay for the scholarships.

The governor originally presented the scholarship as something for students who meet a strict course of study and performance.   An issue arose, however, of how to provide support for those students who – for various reasons – do not meet those standards.   The Senate version of the bill will allow students with G.E.D. high school equivalency diplomas to qualify for assistance – and will require exceptions be given to students who were unable to meet the governor’s standard because of illness or because the local school did not offer the course work necessary.  Diane Barrens, the executive director of the Alaska Commission on Post-Secondary Education,  said the administration still has some concerns about the changes the Senate made.

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