Lt. governor talks up Launch grants to students

Lt. Gov. Scott Bedke held an impromptu civics lesson with Middleton High School seniors Monday while discussing the nuances of Idaho Launch.

Senior Samantha Davis, 17, applied and received a contingent award letter for $8,000 to attend nursing school. She is among the 200 Middleton seniors – or 70% of the class – who signed up.

“I learned that we’re all getting the same amount of money. I figured that they would go based on what each major was,” Davis said after the meeting.

Lt. Gov. Scott Bedke spoke with Middleton seniors about the state’s innovative grant program called Launch. His presentation focused on why the program was created and where the money comes from. (Photo: Darren Svan/EdNews)

Bedke told the room of 75 seniors that it’s the first time Idaho is supporting careers in the trades, like construction and welding, and the grant is available to every graduating senior.

“We need to celebrate that,” he said.

But he encouraged them to engage with their elected officials to get them to pass the appropriations bill that will fund Launch.

“We need to get them over the hump,” Bedke said. “Tell them how this will change your life.”

Grant funds cannot be awarded until the appropriations bill is passed.

Davis plans to correspond with her representative: “Oh, yes, definitely.”

She added, “This would definitely benefit my family. My dad’s a small business owner. They work hard.”

Students wondered where the money would be pulled from — estimated at $70 million  — to pay for the grants.

“Growth,” Bedke said.

Idaho’s economic activity goes through the tax system and growth created a surplus in tax collections.

“Idaho’s economy boomed,” he said.

Others wanted to know if out-of-state students receive the grant or if Idaho students can use the money in another state.

“We’re taking money out of your parents’ pockets. Idaho taxpayers are not paying for education outside of the state,” Bedke told the audience.

Launch is a grant program that provides students a one-time opportunity to have 80% of the tuition and fees at an eligible institution covered, up to a maximum amount of $8,000.

Darren Svan

Darren Svan

Reporter Darren Svan has a background in both journalism and education. Prior to working for military schools at overseas installations, he was news editor at several publications in Wyoming and Colorado. You can send news tips to [email protected].

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