Thursday, February 26, 2015

What you start with isn't always what you finish with - major changes improve House Bill 1154

Many education allies had concerns with House Bill 1154 which we reviewed our last edition.  This bill would have created a "Pay it forward" scholarship program, but the funding came at the expense of eliminating the State Need Grants and the College Bound Scholarship Program.  Representative Bergquist heard the concerns, gutted his own bill, and developed a pilot program which is geared towards helping students who fulfill the requirements of the College Bound Program but whose scholarship is eliminated due to their family's financial situation improving during the course of the program.  

Currently, if a child participates in the College Bound program, but their family's finances surpass the maximum allowed, the child does not receive a scholarship.  This new bill creates a pilot program that addresses this inconsistency.  The scope of the new bill which has passed out of committee is here.  Although this bill does not go very far in addressing the mounting concerns of the costs of higher education for middle class families, it does address a real problem in our current scholarship programs.  He should be commended for listening to the concerns of education stakeholders and taking the bold move in addressing this problem. 

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