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Alaska releases scholarships for thousands of students before the fall semester



Sian Gonzales found that he would not receive the nearly $ 5,000 he received annually from the Alaska Performance Scholarship (APS) on July 9, one and a half months before the first day of his junior year at the university from Alaska, Anchorage.

Gonzales, 21, did not lose the scholarship because his grades slipped or because he violated school rules; Instead, Gonzales and 2,500 other students in Alaska have lost the scholarship because the state is no longer funding it.

"I'm scared," Nursing student Gonzales told NBC News. Gonzales grew up in Juneau, opting in large part to study in Alaska because of the APS and even working to get the scholarship during high school.

"Alaska desperately needs nurses. Upon graduation, I want to use my skills to help my people here in Alaska. I want to stay in Alaska, "said Gonzales. And that's exactly what the APS was created for.

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2, the GSP awarded funds to students to encourage clever high school graduates to stay in their home country to gain higher education and prevent brain drain. The program has certain qualifications for admitting students, and some students, such as Gonzales, spend their school years attending certain classes, receiving high GPA and studying to get good SAT or ACT results to qualify. Gonzales is in Level 1, which means he receives $ 4,755 a year from the GSP. The state also offered two additional stages of the scholarship, worth either $ 3,566 or $ 2,378 per year.

Well, that's over, and he wonders how he can close the significant financial gap in such a short time.

Sian Gonzales found out that he would not receive his Alaska scholarship for his junior year at the University of Alaska, Anchorage. Marina Ogai

Gonzales is in an even more difficult situation because he has additional scholarships to fund his education. He loses when he leaves school to save the money he receives through the GSP scholarship loses. Gonzales is deadlocked, saying the only way out is to take on student debt.

"I worked very hard in high school," said Gonzales APS scholarships. We earned the money.

Lawmakers have tried and failed to recover the APS, which was defunded due to a so-called "sweep".

At the end of Alaska's fiscal year at the end of June, the state is "sweeping" a number of accounts that will inject various state programs into its constitutional budget reserve. When the new fiscal year starts in July, the state usually reverses the sweep quickly and the funds go back to the program's accounts. It is a complicated process that is needed after voters in Alaska passed a constitutional amendment in the 1990s that requires it.

The APS is being funded through the Alaska Higher Education Investment Fund, which Governor Mike Dunleavy has taken up for the first time this year. But this year, some Republican legislators blocked the three-quarters majority needed to repay the programs, and legislators could not reverse the roll-out, so the APS was not funded. The Alaska Education Grant (AEG), which grants state aid to low-income students, was also affected by the sweep.

A spokesman for Dunleavy said the governor added the Alaska Higher Education Investment Fund to Sweep because it is mandated by the state constitution, although earlier administrations did not include it. According to the governor, the blame for the deflation of the GSP lies with the legislature.

Legislators on both sides of the aisle, however, want the setback to be reversed and the GSP restored.

Republican State Senator Natasha von Imhof told NBC News she is worried about what would mean a delay in funding or the total disappearance of the grant for the state. "We risk students either not going to college or leaving the state," she said. "We could stop it. We could start the reverse run. We only need three quarters of the vote, it's a high threshold.

Democrat MEP Sara Hannan, a newly-formed legislator and retired high school teacher, told NBC News she did not believe Dunleavy would have to include the APS in the list. The governor, said Hannan, used the shared legislation in Alaska to improve the possibilities of higher education in Alaska. He knew that it would be difficult to obtain a three-quarters majority for approval of the reverse procedure.

As the University of Alaska faces the governor's unprecedented cut in government funds by 41 percent. Hannan said the removal of the APS triggered a "storm of bad politics and politics" that would ultimately hit Alaska's students hard.