Eye On Boise

Holdbacks prompt Ed Board to short students on Promise Scholarship

Thousands of Idaho college students who were scheduled to receive $500 "Promise Scholarships" this year will get just $400 instead, under a plan that's up for final approval Thursday by the state Board of Education. The same tough times that have driven the state to slash its budget have prompted huge increases in college enrollments throughout the state - and the combination of the two left the scholarship program without enough money to keep its full promise this spring. "The reality is we've just got far more people eligible that have applied, and we've got fewer dollars to work with," said Mark Browning, spokesman for the state Board of Education.

The scholarship, started by lawmakers in 2001, is for any Idaho high school graduate with at least a B average, who attends an Idaho college, public or private; it helps those students with expenses for their first two years of college, as long as they maintain their grades. Close to 9,000 students across the state received fall-semester payments of $250 this fall, but that was before Gov. Butch Otter imposed mid-year budget cuts last month, including a 6 percent cut from college and university budgets. Now, the spring payment may be just $150. Rep. Tom Trail, R-Moscow, who worked with the late Sen. Bob Lee, R-Rexburg, to establish the scholarship program in 2000,  said, "I think it's really a shame." You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.

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Betsy Z. Russell





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