Higher Education Task Force discussed new grants
Arizona Summer Wildcat
ACE and ARISE grants to make post secondary education
As university tuition across the country increases, the Governor's Higher Education Task Force is taking action to make it more affordable for Arizona students.
A proposal that would make post-secondary education more accessible to graduating high school seniors is now being reviewed by the task force, pending its inclusion in a final report to the legislature.
This proposal would offer financial support in two forms, the Arizona College Education Grant and the Arizona Respect Individual Student Efforts Grant.
Arizona residents who earn a diploma or receive a graduate equivalency diploma and are eligible for the Federal Pell Grant can receive the ACE grant.
Those who receive the ACE grant would be provided with $1,000 each year for two years of attendance at a public community college.
"The ACE grant is intended to give students two more years of free education and to insure that every student that is ready to go to community college can," said Linda Blessing, executive director for the Arizona Board of Regents.
Though the grant may persuade many freshmen to enroll in community colleges instead of four-year institutions, there are many positive long-term effects.
"Many students will transfer into the universities after their two years at community colleges, prepared and ready to handle academic and financial pressures," said University of Arizona President Peter Likins.
This in turn, Likins said, could potentially lower the dropout rate at the universities.
The ARISE grant is slightly different from the ACE grant in that it gives students the option of choosing to attend a college or a university.
However, with the increased flexibility, there are more stringent academic requirements. If students are in the top 25 percent of their graduating class and are eligible for the ACE grant, they can receive the ARISE grant.
For a maximum of four years, a student who has received the ARISE grant would be provided with $1,000 for each year of attendance at a post-secondary institution with the purpose of earning a baccalaureate degree.
Likins said the ARISE grant will be helpful "in making the universities affordable to well-qualified students of limited means."
The ACE grant and the ARISE grant are intended to work in conjunction with funding that is already available for low income students - such as the Federal Pell Grant - so that post-secondary education is more feasible for a greater portion of Arizona's population.
The Governor's Task Force will meet again on June 22 to discuss the grants further.