By Dave Donaldson
The Senate on Tuesday passed a trimmed-down version of a scholarship plan that eliminates the active provisions of the plan the governor proposed this year.
The bill expands the Alaska Scholars program that the University began on its own several years ago.
Instead of giving free tuition to the top ten percent of students from each high school’s graduating class, the Senate version will give the free college education to the top five percent of the class. It will give 75-percent of tuition costs to the top ten percent, and 50-percent to the top fifteen percent of the class.
There is no requirement for meeting academic standards based on a specific course of study or grade-point average, as the governor wanted to see.
Anchorage Republican Lesil McGuire supported the plan because she said it did help students. However, she refused to recognize it as a replacement for the governor’s plan.
But the transformative effects of the program the governor is promoting are uniquely different. And I just invite the body for just a minute to think about them. You have very few things that are guaranteed to you in life, and one thing you learn from your parents early on. It’s an important lesson. But what happens when you as a state decide to make a guarantee to students and to ask them to do their very best in school. In Louisiana and in Wyoming it’s has transformative effects.
McGuire was not allowed to talk further about the governor’s plan, as she apologized for “straying” from the bill itself.
The measure next goes to the House, where it was referred to the Finance Committee.