Rep. Les Gara

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 29, 2016

Juneau — The Alaska Legislature’s legal department has confirmed that the Senate Finance Committee bill to end the Alaska Performance Scholarship program also ends the Alaska Education Grant program, which offers needs-based financial aid for college and job training.  House Finance Committee member Rep. Les Gara (D-Anchorage) worked to help start a two year needs-based aid effort several years before the current aid plan was passed.

“We should not deny motivated people access to college and job training just because they are born without wealth,” said Rep. Gara.  “The merit scholarships eliminated in the bill can likely be reformed to save money, without ending the entire program.  Senate Bill 208 is a big step backwards for educational opportunities in Alaska by ending financial aid for those who want to better themselves through college and job training.”

SB 208 calls for the Alaska Performance Scholarship program to be eliminated by 2022.  The bill also ends Alaska’s needs-based financial aid. The program began offering scholarships in 2011 and in FY 2015 around 3,000 Alaska students received scholarships.  Rep. Gara joined many other lawmakers laying the groundwork for a needs-based financial aid program prior to 2011.

SB 208 was officially introduced on day 70 of the 90 day legislative session.  The bill was referred to the Senate Finance Committee.

For more information, contact Rep. Les Gara at (907) 250-0106.

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