Beginning next week, parents and high school students across Idaho will get an inside look at a program offering up to $600 for college courses and exams.
The State Department of Education officials will lead five regional community meetings devoted to the state’s new Fast Forward Program, authorized by the 2014 Legislature.
Juniors attending public high schools and charter schools could earn up to $200 for dual-credit college courses or professional-technical exams. Seniors, meanwhile, can earn up to $400 – with Fast Forward covering up to 75 percent of the students’ costs once other available scholarships or grants are tapped.
Meetings begin July 30 in Coeur d’Alene and continue through Aug. 12 in Twin Falls. There is no cost to attend the meetings, which will include an overview of the program and its requirements, guidance for parents and students, an introduction to other advanced opportunities and a question-and-answer period.
The law creating the Fast Forward Program took effect July 1, the start of the 2014-15 budget year. At the time, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna says the goal is to help meet the state’s goal that 60 percent of young adults go on to attain a postsecondary education.
“It’s all focused on the go-on goal,” Luna said. “All of our efforts and every recommendation from every task force is focused on the ultimate goal – the 60 percent go-on goal.”
The Legislature estimated the program will cost $3 million in its first year, but funding should not be a problem. If student participation exceeds expectations, additional money will automatically be directed from the Public Education Stabilization Fund, K-12’s “rainy-day fund.”
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Public meetings are set for:
- Coeur d’Alene, 6 p.m., July 30, North Idaho College, Student Union Building, ESU1 Lake Cd’a at 6 p.m.
- Moscow, 6 p.m., July 31, University of Idaho, Renfrew Hall, Classroom 126.
- Boise, 6 p.m., Aug. 6, Boise State University, Yanke Family Research Park, 220 E. Parkcenter Blvd.
- Pocatello, 6 p.m., Aug. 11, Idaho State University, Student Union Building, second floor ballroom.
- Twin Falls, 7 p.m., Aug. 12, Canyon Ridge High School, auditorium.
Free parking is available, but families attending the Boise meeting should obtain a free parking permit online beforehand.