Archive for Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Kansas House committee considers providing scholarships to early high school graduates

March 2, 2011

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— Kansas students who complete high school a year early would be eligible for up to $3,000 in scholarships from the state to attend college under a bill considered Wednesday.

Rep. Jim Howell, R-Derby, said the proposal “creates an incentive for students to strive hard for a goal.”

Howell told the House Education Budget Committee that some high school seniors are unchallenged and lose momentum in their studies. He said it would be up to students and their families whether to try to graduate early.

House Bill 2234 would set up the Early High School Graduation Scholarship Program. The bill would provide scholarships of up to $1,500 per semester for tuition and fees at a post-secondary school for a maximum of two semesters for students who graduate from high school one year early.

The Kansas Department of Education estimates that about 340 students per year would participate in the program. There would also be a reduction of general state aid payments to school districts. By 2012, the program would generate a savings of about $265,000, according to a state fiscal note.

But Rep. Ward Cassidy, R-St. Francis, said in his 40 years as a teacher, principal and school counselor, he knew personally of only one success story of a student who graduated early and went straight to college. He said he knew of more than 20 instances where it didn’t work out.

“Many students are not socially ready,” he said.

Rep. Sheryl Spalding, R-Overland Park, however, said she has read studies that say some students, especially gifted ones, who graduate early from high school do well in college.

Rep. Lana Gordon, R-Topeka, who is chair of the committee, said she didn’t know yet if the panel would continue working on the bill.

Comments

KU_cynic 4 years, 6 months ago

How about a student who graduates early but wants to take a "maturing year or semester" of non-college activities before going to college? Could such a student accept but defer receipt of the scholarship?

William Weissbeck 4 years, 6 months ago

Where do these ideas come from? I'm a cynic. Indiana just passed the same legislation (but $3,500) completely out of the blue, no debate, nothing. The cynic in me says that when something so similar comes up in two different places at the same time (think abolishing right to work and collective bargaining in Wisconsin, Indiana and Ohio), I smell a conspiracy, outside influences and ulterior motivations, rather than a sudden Renaissance or enlightenment. In Indiana, we suspect this as a means to drain further funds from the public schools and divert them to private "pseudo colleges." The student aiming for the Ivy League isn't going to be graduating early, because they have to stay busy the full 4 years building up their resume of course work.

sailor 4 years, 6 months ago

I graduated early and started KU at age 16. It was tough being the youngest around the college. And yes, I had to drop out after 1 year. But came back and finished. I'm not sure if a scholarship would have made any difference. It would be an eye opener.

hde128 4 years, 6 months ago

I started at KSU when I was 16 and heard a lot of stories about how I wouldn't do well graduating two years early. Now I'm a junior with a 3.93 GPA and I'll have my B.S. in mechanical engineering in just over a year. Do I think graduating early was a good idea? Of course I do. It may not be a good idea for everyone, but it can definitely work for some people. If you're mature enough to deal with college life and willing to work hard enough to deal with the schoolwork, there's no reason not to graduate. You'll learn far more in college than you will during your senior year of high school, especially if you use that extra year of your life to work on a graduate degree, or you could just make a lot more money hopping into the workforce. You have to be ready for it, though. That's why I'm not sure it's a good idea to give a scholarship to anyone who graduates early. Maybe they could slap a GPA or ACT/SAT requirement on the proposal, something to insure the early graduates are academically ready.

William Weissbeck 4 years, 6 months ago

That's just it. Who is most likely to take advantage of this program and is it a good idea? Sure there will be some smart kids whose goals are only KU or KSU. But I don't think the smart kids aiming for private colleges will have much need or use for this. But like making cigarettes and beer available to kids at 17, you are bound to draw in some you aren't making wise choices. And are our institutions of higher learning even able to absorb the extra students?

hde128 4 years, 6 months ago

The only reason I didn't go to an Ivy League was money. Granted, this wouldn't have helped me get there. $3,000 doesn't put much of a dent in the $200,000 it costs to get a degree from an Ivy League school, and coming from a middle class family, there was no way we could've paid for it or gotten financial aid to cover it. My goal wasn't to get out of school at 16 and only go to KSU. I'd wanted to go to MIT since I was 8, but realistically, it couldn't have happened no matter how long I stayed in high school.

By the way, beer, cigarettes, and dope aren't exactly words foreign to high schoolers.

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