Legislature(2009 - 2010)
2010-01-19 House JournalFull Journal pdf
2010-01-19 House Journal Page 1295 HB 297 HOUSE BILL NO. 297 by the House Rules Committee by request of the Governor, entitled: "An Act establishing the governor's performance scholarship program and relating to the program; establishing the governor's performance scholarship fund and relating to the fund; relating to student records; making conforming amendments; and providing for an effective date." was read the first time and referred to the Education and Finance Committees. The following fiscal note(s) apply: 1. Fiscal, Dept. of Education & Early Development 2. Fiscal, Dept. of Education & Early Development 3. Fiscal, Dept. of Labor & Workforce Development 4. Fiscal, Dept. of Revenue The Governor's transmittal letter dated January 15, 2010, follows: "Dear Speaker Chenault: Under the authority of Art. III, Sec. 18, of the Alaska Constitution, I am transmitting a bill that will create a merit-based scholarship program for Alaska high school students who pursue higher education in Alaska. This legislation, referred to as the Governor's Performance Scholarship (GPS), is patterned after successful scholarship programs in 22 other states. The GPS will improve high school graduation rates, prepare students for college or job training, provide Alaskan students with affordable opportunities for higher education, sustain Alaska's economy with a capable workforce, and retain equipped, hardworking Alaskan students. This bill provides four tiers of scholarship payment for qualified high school graduates. Three of these tiers would be designated for 2010-01-19 House Journal Page 1296 academic scholarships, and the fourth for career and technical school scholarships. The key feature of the scholarship program is that it is merit-based. All students who participate will be required to complete a more rigorous high school curriculum consisting of four years of language arts, mathematics, and science, and three years of social studies. Students will also be evaluated according to standards established for their grade-point averages and scores on college entrance or work-ready examinations. The program will provide an incentive for students to challenge themselves in high school and to graduate. It also provides an impetus for schools to enhance curriculum. Studies have shown that students who take a rigorous curriculum in high school are more likely to do well in college and job training programs. Thus, the scholarship recipients will be more likely to achieve their certification or degree. Students who achieve the highest attainable grade point average and examination scores will be awarded the highest tier of the academic scholarship for an Alaska-based college or university. This tier will equal the full cost of tuition at an Alaskan university for the 2010- 2011 school year. The second and third tiers of the academic scholarship will be 75 and 50 percent the amount of respective tuition. Students will be eligible for the academic scholarship for a maximum of eight semesters. Students who qualify for a career or technical school scholarship will receive an award of full fees for training, the maximum at $3,000 per year. The career and technical scholarship may be used by a student for up to two years. The GPS will only be accessible to Alaska residents. However, this bill will allow that Alaskan military members and their families will not lose eligibility on account of their service. The bill will require that money from these scholarships will only be spent at qualified Alaska post-secondary institutions or training programs. Students educated in the state are more likely to remain in the state. This provision encourages our best and brightest young people to remain in the state and prepare qualified Alaskan workers for Alaskan jobs. 2010-01-19 House Journal Page 1297 The GPS program contains a "use it or lose it" provision: students will have a six-year window to apply the scholarship to a postsecondary institution. This protects the State of Alaska from an extended liability. As previously stated, the bill will provide extensions for Alaskans who serve in the military. The GPS will be administered by the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development, the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, and the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education. Regulations will be adopted to govern the program, grade- point average standard, eligibility criteria and an appeals process to consider extraordinary circumstances. The Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education will adopt regulations for streamlined application, award, and continuing eligibility standards. Also, this bill will establish a fund whose earnings could be used to pay for scholarships. The proposed fund is based on other funds established in statute, such as the Alaska Veterans' Memorial endowment fund, and will be managed by the Department of Revenue. Nothing in this bill will establish a dedicated fund. The GPS is modeled after the famous "Taylor plan," established by private businessman, Patrick Taylor, to keep students in school and motivate them to pursue successful postsecondary education. Currently, twenty-two states have "Taylor like" state-sponsored plans. I urge your prompt and favorable action on this bill. Sincerely, /s/ Sean Parnell Governor"