Cutbacks Seen In Scholarship Programs

By CityTownInfo Staff
April 14, 2009

The Highlands Today of Tampa, Florida reports that scholarship money is down due to the slow economy.  The South Florida Community College Foundation will award less than the over $500,000 awarded last year.  Foundation Executive Director Donald Appelquist says that gifts are down, so scholarships will suffer, even though SFCCF spends about 85 percent of its earnings on scholarships. "The total amount of gifts that we have received in the last six or seven months has in fact been impacted by the economic situation," Appelquist said. "People are simply not as able as they were in the past to make charitable contributions."  It could be worse, but the Foundation has an investment policy that shielded it from the worst effects of the recession. "I think our otherwise conservative investment policy saved us from losing even more money than we might," All is not lost, however, as guidance counselor Jennifer Langston reports that no Tampa Area local organizations have cancelled their scholarships, and there are even a few new memorial grants.

The Arizona Republic reports that one of the most widely given merit awards in Arizona - the AIMS  scholarships - could be cut in half and limited to high-school students who score the highest on the standardized AIMS test.  Cuts are being considered as the three Arizona state universities try to cope with budget cuts brought on by the state's fiscal crisis.  Eligibility could be cut by up to 65 per cent, but any student who already has the scholarship would be grandfathered in and safeguarded from any changes.

Tom Horne, state superintendent of public instruction, opposes any changes. "The universities would lose because those students who do study hard end up being much better prepared for the universities," he said in an interview with the Republic.  Horne is also a regent, and some regents are concerned that making an AIMS award into a partial grant will make it impossible for students to attend university.

In Atlanta, the HOPE scholarship is in jeopardy. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that HOPE is facing shortfalls because lottery revenue is down.  State officials are planning to impose a 50 percent cut in book allowances.  Automatic increases in grants to cover tuition at public colleges will probably have to end, and now the state legislature is examining whether the HOPE program has caused tuition to increase abnormally at Georgia's research universities.

Redandblack.com also reports on this story, observing that tuition cannot go up while money flowing into the HOPE reserves fund goes down. "Right now we are dealing with tuition increases and the monies that are going into the HOPE reserves fund from the lottery," said Monet Robinson, communications specialist for the Georgia Student Finance Commission, in a phone interview Monday. "Eventually those lines are going to cross and so the legislature has passed [a House bill]."

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