To:                   Board of Regents

 

From:               Richard A. Crofts

                        Commissioner

 

Date:                March 8, 2002

 

Subject:            Revisions on High School Honor Scholarships Policy  


Last August I appointed a Task Force to review our High School Honor Scholarship Awards and Policy.  This agenda item includes the report of the Task Force and suggested revisions of the policy.

 

It has become clear that the Scholarship is not working in the way it was intended to ensure that top students in Montana’s high schools decide to enroll in the university system.  There are two major problems that keep the program from achieving its purpose.  First, the award is a fee waiver only and does not provide sufficient financial assistance to make the award really attractive to our best students.  Second, the award is for one year only (non-renewable).  Most scholarships to students of this caliber are renewable for up to four years.  The end result has been that we are going relatively far down our list of eligible candidates before finding someone to take the awards.  Frankly, many of them probably end up going to students who never had any intention of going out of state to college.

 

The report recommends improving the size of the awards, but does not recommend a funding source.  We may choose to alter the program and make the alterations contingent upon success in finding increased funding for the program through the 2005 Budget Request.  I had hoped the Task Force would consider another alternative - - increase the size of the awards and make them renewable for up to four years, assuming satisfactory academic progress; if other funding does not become available, reduce the number of awards in order to make them attractive enough so that the program can achieve its original intention.

 

This item is on the submission agenda and we will only have initial discussion of the recommendations and other alternatives at the March meeting.