‘Adult completer’ scholarship plan will resurface in 2017

The State Board of Education will take another run at a controversial scholarship proposal, rejected by the Legislature earlier this year.

Blake Youde
Blake Youde, State Board of Education

The State Board has earmarked $5 million in its 2017-18 budget for an “adult completer” scholarship program, spokesman Blake Youde said this week. Gov. Butch Otter is on board with the idea.

Otter proposed this scholarship in 2016 — and wanted to earmark $5 million for adults who had completed at least 30 credits, but had been out of school for at least three years. A sharply divided Senate rejected the bill on a 17-16 vote.

Critics say the adult completer scholarship rewards people for dropping out of college and putting their education on hold. Supporters say it is one more tool to help Idaho improve its lackluster college graduation rates.

On another front, the State Board is proceeding with year two of its “direct admissions” program — also designed to boost college attendance and graduation rates. For the second year, qualified high school seniors will receive letters from the State Board, telling them they are pre-approved to attend Idaho colleges or universities.

State Board staff is tracking the program, and should have hard numbers to present at the board’s December meeting, board research director Carson Howell said this week.

More reading: Our in-depth look at the state’s declining go-on numbers, and their implications for the college graduation rate.