May 06, 1999

UA President Mark Hamilton Announces Recipients of First UA Scholars Awards

May 6, 1999ยป NR 10-1999

The University of Alaska Scholars Program has notified 694 Alaska high school seniors that they qualify for a four-year $10,800 scholarship to attend any campus of the University of Alaska, and the number will increase when all schools have reported the names of their qualified students.

"This scholarship program was designed to encourage more young people to stay in Alaska for their college education," said University of Alaska President Mark R. Hamilton who initiated the program as one of his first actions after assuming the presidency last year. "We know if we educate our young people in Alaska, the chances are substantially increased that they will stay to accept a job, raise a family, contribute to the social, cultural, and economic enrichment of Alaska."

Eligibility requirements to determine the top 10% of the graduating class are set by the high schools. Although typically based on GPA (grade point average), some schools have chosen to include other factors, such as AP (advanced placement) courses, SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test) or PSAT (Pre-Scholastic Assessment Test) scores, or a variable of GPA and community service participation or other deciding factors.

"This is a great tool for counselors to assist students in planning for their educational future," said Ann Ringstad, acting program director. "We are finding that this scholarship has been the deciding factor in a number of cases where the senior would otherwise decide to go Outside for their college education. Parents are elated that the University is offering this scholarship to their kids."

"I am somewhat surprised that we haven't heard from all the high schools in Alaska yet," Ringstad continued. "This gives every Alaska high school student an opportunity to strive to be in the top 10% of their graduating class and to attend college in their own state."

Many students have not been notified that they qualify for this scholarship. The UA Scholars Program has had some difficulty in obtaining the names and addresses of qualified students because some school districts are concerned about releasing this information based on FERPA (Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act) statutes regarding privacy. Legislation is pending in the Alaska State Senate (SB 167) to rectify this issue. In the meantime, if parents or students are interested in their status concerning this scholarship, they should contact their high school counselor for verification. If they qualify, they need to provide their high school with authorization for release of information.

To date, the following students have been selected by their high schools in the southcentral area of Alaska as being in the top 10% of the graduating class of 1999.