A note from Phil Neal at The University of Texas at Austin: I was reading your blog about the Kalamazoo Promise and wanted to pass along some information about a similar program in Wyoming. Wyoming has recently experienced great fortunes with the royalties from oil, gas and coal production. It is one of the few states that actually has a surplus of money at their disposal. A couple of years ago, there was a proposal to use some of this surplus to create an endowment which would provide scholarships to Wyoming high school graduates. The Hathaway Scholarship program was created and students began taking advantage of the scholarship in the fall of 2006. Reflective of their GPA (2.5 and higher) and ACT scores (17 and higher), students will receive one of the four graduated scholarships to be used at the state’s community colleges and/or university. All levels of the scholarships pay for most or all of the full-time tuition at the community colleges, while only a few levels pay for all the tuition at the university. In my mind, this inadvertently created an incentive for students to attend the community colleges for those students with lower GPS’s and ACT scores.Basic scholarship information can be reviewed at http://www.hathawayscholarships.com/. The site also contains links to the university and community colleges, all of which have more extensive information. This program will be a great benefit for students of Wyoming, and has made the financial offices rethink how to use their existing resources for recruitment.Hopefully, its successes, like the Kalamazoo Promise, will serve as models for other communities and states. I agree with you that this type of forward thinking helps to enhance more than the just the educational attainment of the citizens within a city or state. Wyoming is hoping to keep many of its high school graduates from moving out of the state – a problem they have experienced for years – while creating a more educated workforce that helps promote economic development.
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