SB 1279 – Idaho Opportunity Scholarship

Phil Haunschild 2018 Senate bill ratings

Bill description: SB 1279 would expand the Idaho Opportunity Scholarship program to provide financial support to adults, who have left college, who return to complete their degree.

Rating: -2

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? 

SB 1279 would expand the Idaho Opportunity Scholarship program to include support for adults with partial degrees who return to college. SB 1279 would allow the State Board of Education to allocate up to 20 percent of the monies available for the scholarship program for “adult students who have earned at least twenty-four (24) credits toward a postsecondary degree or certificate and who return to an eligible Idaho postsecondary educational institution to complete a certificate or degree.”

This program would take money away from other Idahoans through General Fund revenues to encourage individuals who have dropped out of college to return and complete their degree.


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? 

Though SB 1279 does not have an appropriation attached, the expansion of the Idaho Opportunity Scholarship program to include adults who return to college would increase the scope of the program. Thus, the program would require more management and increased appropriations in the future. As evidence of the future need for increased appropriations, for FY 19, the governor requested an additional $5 million for the Idaho Opportunity Scholarship program, and JFAC approved a motion to increase the appropriation by an additional $3.5 million.