Alaska is the only state in the nation with a public university that doesn't already have a needs-based scholarship program. The University of Alaska's tuition has increased the past seven years in a row, and many Alaskans who would otherwise seek post-secondary education to develop job skills and to enrich their potential employment opportunities are electing to stay out of school.
I am calling on Alaskans to support the Alaska Achiever's Incentive Program. AAIP is need-based, which means that it will provide funding for low-income students and those who are unable to secure sufficient funding through other means alone. Sixty-eight percent of all aid within the UA system is provided in the form of loans; Alaska students need a better plan to get through school than racking up debt. Eating ramen noodles can only cut costs so much.
Merit-based programs such as UA Scholars are all well and good in their place, but a program that distributes based on need would be far more effective in attracting and retaining Alaska students than either that or the governor's new plan (which is uncannily similar to UA Scholars).
The key to Alaska's success lies in higher education; an investment in those who seek it is an investment in the workforce and in Alaska's future. Please contact your legislator and urge them to support AAIP in the upcoming hearings.