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Governor Parnell Submits Merit Scholarship Legislation

January 15, 2010, Anchorage, Alaska - Governor Sean Parnell transmitted a bill Jan. 15 to the Legislature to establish the Governor's Performance Scholarship program.

The legislation would provide merit-based scholarships to high school graduates to attend an Alaska public or private college or an in-state career or technical school. To receive a scholarship, students would have to complete a rigorous curriculum in high school, achieve high grade point averages and score well on a college entrance exam or work-ready assessment.

"Our students will reach higher if given incentives to achieve academic excellence," Governor Parnell said. "With merit scholarships, more students are ready for post-secondary education - whether college or job-training programs. These scholarships will position Alaska's economy for growth with a better-prepared workforce and keep more of our hardworking students at home in Alaska. Our families and our economic future depend upon it."

Merit scholarships are designed to increase the rigor and extent of course offerings in high schools, increase high school graduation rates, increase the readiness of high school graduates for post-secondary education and increase the number of Alaskans who receive post-secondary certificates and degrees.

The Governor's Performance Scholarship offers three levels of academic scholarships, ranging from approximately $4,800 to $2,400 a year, and one level of career and technical scholarship, worth up to $3,000 a year.

The scholarships would be paid on the interest earned from $400 million in general fund savings. The bill establishes the Governor's Performance Scholarship program and the Governor's Performance Scholarship fund income account.

Copies of the transmittal letter and the bill are available at: http://www.gov.state.ak.us/pdf/GPSLetter_Jan15-2010.pdf

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