Idaho would give college scholarships to high school graduates who earn college credits while still in high school, under legislation proposed today by freshman Rep. Ryan Kerby, R-New Plymouth, a longtime local school district superintendent. Taking college classes in high school increases the rigor of high school, Kerby said: “Kids have to work harder.” And he said the move would help improve Idaho’s “go-on rate,” the rate of high school grads going on to higher education.
“We want more kids to go to college, and secondly we want more of these kids to go to Idaho colleges, rather than going out of state,” Kerby told the House Education Committee. “They’re more likely to stay in Idaho to work.”
His proposal would give Idaho high school graduates who have earned at least 10 post-secondary credits a $1,000-a-year scholarship for two years to attend any Idaho publicly funded higher-education institution. Credits from dual-credit courses, Advanced Placement courses, and professional-technical education courses all would count, as long as they’re accepted by the colleges. They’d have four years to use the two-year scholarships, allowing time for military service, religious missions, or other factors. Students who’ve earned at least 20 credits would get $2,000 a year for two years. And those who earn an associate’s degree while still in high school would get full four-year scholarships, covering all tuition and fees.
There were lots of questions from committee members, including why Kerby excluded home-schooled and private-school students from the scholarships, along with private colleges. “It’s a matter of the amount of the scholarship right now and ability to get it through the Legislature,” he said. Others questioned the cost of the proposal, which Kerby estimated at $1.6 million the first year and $3.2 million the second year. Today’s voice vote in committee to introduce the bill clears the way for a full hearing on it.