Bill Description: House Bill 685 changes the postsecondary credit scholarship program by removing the requirement that the necessary matching business or industry scholarship be based on merit and replacing this provision with language specifying how matching scholarships must be awarded.
Does the bill reinforce the idea of equal treatment under the law, merit, individual responsibility, personal agency, and expectations of academic excellence? (+) Conversely, does the bill allow for any type of discrimination against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group for any purpose on the basis of race, sex, color, economic class, ethnicity, national origin, geographic area, legacy status, or other identity group? (-)
Under current law, a student who seeks a postsecondary credit scholarship must “earn at least ten (10) postsecondary semester credits” before graduating from high school. The student must also receive a matching scholarship “from a business or industry,” and this matching scholarship must be based on academic merit. House Bill 505 removes the requirement that the matching business or industry scholarship be based on merit. Under House Bill 505, a student would only need to receive a matching scholarship from a business or industry, and the student’s academic achievement during high school would no longer be a minimum requirement for eligibility.
House Bill 685 replaces the merit requirement with other language specifying how matching business and industry scholarships must be awarded. The new provisions would require these scholarships to be “competitively awarded” and available to any student who is eligible. They would also prohibit relatives from awarding scholarships to students. Relatives would encompass parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents.
The postsecondary credit scholarship program is part of Idaho’s Advanced Opportunities program. Students participating in the Advanced Opportunities program may use funds from the program for a variety of educational offerings. These include dual-credit courses, exams that earn college credits, workforce training, or overload courses. Students who earn college credit while in high school through one of these avenues demonstrate through their work a level of determination and merit. Currently, there are very few merit-based business scholarships in Idaho. The change proposed by this legislation creates more opportunity for students to be rewarded for their work in the Advanced Opportunities program.
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