Cutbacks Seen In Scholarship Programs

By CityTownInfo Staff
April 14, 2009

TheHighlands Today of Tampa, Florida reports that scholarship money is down dueto the slow economy.  The South Florida Community College Foundation willaward less than the over $500,000 awarded last year.  Foundation ExecutiveDirector Donald Appelquist says that gifts are down, so scholarships willsuffer, even though SFCCF spends about 85 percent of its earnings onscholarships. "The total amount of gifts that we have received in the last sixor seven months has in fact been impacted by the economic situation," Appelquistsaid. "People are simply not as able as they were in the past to make charitablecontributions."  It could be worse, but the Foundation has an investmentpolicy that shielded it from the worst effects of the recession. "I think ourotherwise conservative investment policy saved us from losing even more moneythan we might," All is not lost, however, as guidance counselorJennifer Langston reports that no Tampa Area local organizations have cancelledtheir scholarships, and there are even a few new memorial grants.

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

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

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

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

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