Idaho’s ‘adult completer’ scholarship: how it will work

Idaho’s new “adult completer” scholarship will be available to full- and part-time college students with GPAs of 2.7 or better.

Last week, the State Board of Education approved temporary rules that set the ground rules for the scholarship, which is designed to encourage older students to return to college and receive a degree.

The scholarship is geared toward “stopouts:” adults were earned at least 24 college credits, but left college along the way.

Here’s a rundown of the rules, set at the State Board’s meeting in Moscow last week:

  • Scholarship recipients must have a GPA of 2.7 or greater. Idaho’s existing Opportunity Scholarship — geared toward traditional college students — requires a GPA of 3.0, and many eligible students still don’t receive a share of the limited scholarship dollars.
  • “Stopouts” must have been out of school for at least two years.
  • Scholarship recipients can attend school on a full- or part-time basis. Scholarship money will be prorated depending on a student’s course load.
  • Students must show progress toward a degree in order to remain eligible for scholarships.
  • Students can apply for scholarships up to three weeks before the start of a semester.

The new scholarship launches July 1. The State Board is expected to work on permanent scholarship rules at its August meeting. If approved, these rules would go to the 2019 Legislature for final review.

The 2018 Legislature put $13.5 million into the Opportunity Scholarship, up from $10 million. Lawmakers also allowed the State Board to siphon up to 20 percent of the money into an adult completer scholarship.

While the existing Opportunity Scholarship has not kept up with student demand, 3,716 Idaho students received a share of the money in 2017-18. The scholarship maxes out at $3,500 a year for four years.

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