Opportunity Scholarship and Opportunity Expansion Programs | 2019 JLARC Preliminary Report

Opportunity Scholarship and Opportunity Expansion Programs | 2019 JLARC Preliminary Report


Hi my name is Casey Radostitz it’s and I’m Jennifer Sulcer and we’re staff to the Joint Legislative Audit and Review
Committee. The Legislature directed us to review the opportunity scholarship when
it created the program in 2011. We’re here to tell you about the three key
takeaways from our report. The first takeaway is that the opportunity
scholarship is meeting the requirement set in statute by providing funds to low
and middle income students pursuing bachelor’s degrees in high demand stem
and healthcare fields. To date the Opportunity Scholarship has received one
hundred and seventy five million dollars which includes both private donations
and a dollar-for-dollar state match. These funds are used to provide
scholarships, student support, and to administer the program. Since 2012 the
Opportunity Scholarship has provided 21,000 scholarships to more than 10,000
low and middle-income students Second, the outcomes we identified
suggest the scholarship is meeting its legislative intent to help make college
more affordable and to increase the number of high demand degrees. Compared
to other students who did not receive a scholarship
we found opportunity scholars pay less out of pocket and take out fewer student
loans. We also found that opportunity scholars are more likely to continue
their education which is an early indicator that they will graduate. And
while some opportunity scholars have graduated many are still in school. And
third, the Legislative Auditor made two recommendations to improve the
information available to the Legislature. The first recommendation is the
opportunity scholarship should develop a plan to coordinate with state agencies
to provide additional financial aid and employment information to the
legislature in the future. The second recommendation is the Opportunity
Scholarship should report its overall non scholarship costs including the
total cost to administer the program in its annual legislative reports. If you’d
like more detailed information about the Opportunity Scholarship please take a
look at our full report. you

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