HB 94: "An Act creating a postsecondary scholarship program for Alaska residents based on high achievement and financial need."

00 HOUSE BILL NO. 94 01 "An Act creating a postsecondary scholarship program for Alaska residents based on 02 high achievement and financial need." 03 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA: 04 * Section 1. The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended by adding a new section 05 to read: 06 LEGISLATIVE INTENT. It is the intent of the legislature to 07 (1) reward eligible students who are admitted to a qualifying postsecondary 08 institution located in the state; 09 (2) recognize that existing scholarship programs in the state do not provide the 10 funding needed to support all students who are in financial need; 11 (3) establish the Alaska achievers' incentive scholarship program to provide an 12 additional source of financial assistance to defray the costs of attending a qualifying 13 postsecondary institution for academically successful students who also demonstrate financial 14 need and who wish to seek further education.

01 * Sec. 2. AS 14.43 is amended by adding new sections to read: 02 Article 6A. Alaska Achievers' Incentive Scholarship Program. 03 Sec. 14.43.190. Alaska achievers' incentive scholarship program; creation. 04 (a) There is created the Alaska achievers' incentive scholarship program to be 05 administered by the commission for the benefit of eligible students who have been 06 admitted to a qualifying postsecondary institution. A scholarship awarded under 07 AS 14.43.190 - 14.43.199 may be used to defray the costs of attending a qualifying 08 postsecondary institution. 09 (b) The amount of a scholarship shall be not less than $1,000, determined 10 annually by dividing the amount identified under AS 14.43.195(c) by the number of 11 eligible applicants for the year. 12 (c) If the amount of money appropriated by the legislature for scholarships 13 under this section is insufficient to award scholarships of at least $1,000 to all 14 applicants eligible under (b) of this section, the commission shall give priority to 15 awards for applicants who demonstrate the greatest amount of unmet financial need. 16 (d) The commission shall adopt regulations needed to administer the program. 17 Sec. 14.43.193. Eligibility. A person may apply on a form provided by the 18 commission for a scholarship award under AS 14.43.190. The commission shall 19 approve an applicant under this section if the applicant is a resident of the state who 20 (1) demonstrates financial need on a Free Application for Federal 21 Student Aid (20 U.S.C. 1090); 22 (2) demonstrates academic merit by submitting acceptable proof that 23 the student has achieved a grade point average of 3.0 or higher on a scale of 4.0, or the 24 equivalent at the school in which the applicant is currently enrolled; 25 (3) has an unmet financial need that is not less than $4,000; 26 (4) is a 27 (A) student who has been accepted to a degree or certificate 28 program at a qualifying postsecondary institution; or 29 (B) continuing postsecondary student who is attending a 30 qualifying postsecondary institution for not less than half time and who is 31 making satisfactory progress toward completion of a degree or certificate

01 program. 02 Sec. 14.43.195. Alaska achievers' scholarship fund. (a) The Alaska 03 achievers' scholarship fund is established as a separate endowment fund of the state. 04 The fund consists of 05 (1) appropriations to the fund; 06 (2) donations to the fund; and 07 (3) income earned on investments of fund assets. 08 (b) The commissioner of revenue shall manage the fund as an endowment, 09 with the goal that the purchasing power of the fund will not diminish over time 10 without regard to additional contributions that may be made to the fund. The 11 commissioner shall invest the assets of the fund in a manner likely to yield at least a 12 five percent annual real rate of return over time. In carrying out the investment duties 13 under this section, the commissioner of revenue has the powers and duties set out in 14 AS 37.10.071. The commissioner shall provide reports to the commission on the 15 condition and investment performance of the fund. 16 (c) As soon as practicable after July 1 of each year, the commissioner of 17 revenue shall determine the average month-end market value of the fund for the 18 immediately preceding three fiscal years. The commissioner shall identify five percent 19 of that amount as available for appropriation by the legislature for scholarships under 20 AS 14.43.190 for the following fiscal year. 21 (d) Money in the fund may be appropriated for scholarships under 22 AS 14.43.190 or for any other public purpose. Nothing in this section creates a 23 dedicated fund. 24 Sec. 14.43.199. Definitions. In AS 14.43.190 - 14.43.197, 25 (1) "commission" means the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary 26 Education; 27 (2) "qualifying postsecondary institution" means a postsecondary 28 school located in the state that is accredited by a national or regional accrediting body 29 recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation; 30 (3) "unmet financial need" means the amount of need demonstrated 31 under federal standards for determining financial need under 20 U.S.C. 1070c-2, as

01 amended.