Bill description: This bill creates a new scholarship for students returning to higher education after spending at least three years away from school.
Analyst’s note: This bill was amended in the House on March 14, There are a handful of amendments to the original text. First, it further specifies who may receive this funding, only students who maintained a GPA above 2.0, but, it takes away the provision that individuals can receive other state or federal aid. Second, students would be ineligible for this program if they take another leave of absence from obtaining their degree. Third, the amendments added and expounded on minor areas of the bill. Lastly, the bill takes away the limit of $250,000 for managing this program and administrative costs for its implementation.
This bill creates a new government program built on the premise that taxpayers are responsible for paying for the education of adults who did not get degrees in their initial attempts.
Does it create, expand, or enlarge any agency, board, program, function, or activity of government? Conversely, does it eliminate or curtail the size or scope of government?
This is a new state program with a new administration staff and needs a new funding source. The program is supposed to provide scholarships for adults with partial degrees from an institution of higher education, who have gone more than three years without schooling. The bill’s fiscal note says these individuals would be granted a scholarship of $3,000 a semester for as many as 8 consecutive semesters. The new administration is expected to ensure scholarships go to eligible individuals. (-1)
Does it increase government redistribution of wealth? Examples include the use of tax policy or other incentives to reward specific interest groups, businesses, politicians, or government employees with special favors or perks; transfer payments; and hiring additional government employees. Conversely, does it decrease government redistribution of wealth?
This bill redistributes wealth. Students who completed their degrees would be forced through taxation to pay for the educations of people who did not. Recent studies have shown government subsidies of this kind are responsible for much of the inflation in higher education today. This bill takes money from some and gives it to others, whatever the intent. (-1)
Does it increase government spending (for objectionable purposes) or debt? Conversely, does it decrease government spending or debt?
The bill does not detail the annual cost for this program, nor does it set a limit on each disbursement. The bill simply states the scholarship shall not exceed tuition costs. This allows the new board to determine the amount of funding given annually to each applicant. The fiscal note, however, estimates this scholarship program will require $3 million per year from the general fund. (-1)
Update: This analysis was updated 3/16 to reflect new amendments.