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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Regents preserve AIMS

    TEMPE – During the second half of its March 13 meeting, the Arizona Board of Regents voted against a proposal to halt the Arizona’s Instrument to Measure Standards test scholarship, but approved a policy to release faculty within 90 days’ notice.

    The Regents High Honors Endorsement Scholarship, or AIMS scholarship, is awarded to in-state students who meet certain academic criteria in high school, and covers tuition set at the amount of the student’s first year. The scholarship covers the same amount in tuition for the student’s remaining three years of college.

    “”The discussion of abolishing (the scholarship) has to stop and has to stop now,”” said Regents Vice President Ernest Calderón.

    Due to the budget crisis, the discontinuation of the scholarship was under consideration by UA President Robert Shelton and Arizona State University President Michael Crow, but the regents unanimously passed a motion to keep it as is.

    “”If there are cuts to be made, this is not the area to make the cut,”” Calderón said. “”I would encourage the universities to go back and find the cuts elsewhere.””

    Regent Dennis DeConcini said the scholarship does cost Arizona’s universities, but was created for a reason.

    “”It was created by this board for a very good reason,”” he said. “”It has served a very valid purpose.””

    Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne shared statistics stating how valuable the AIMS scholarship is for Arizona students.

    In the 2007-08 school year, those who received the AIMS scholarship had an average grade point average of 3.56 as opposed to an average GPA of 3.40 for students who received other scholarships, Horne said.

    “”This is a scholarship where everybody knows exactly what is expected,”” he said. “”It motivates them to study harder.””

    Many Arizona high school students even experienced mental health issues when this scholarship was under consideration, Calderón said.

    “”I don’t know if everyone understands the amount of angst and the amount of heartache that has been experienced by our high school students since the announcement of this,”” he said. “”I think to go ahead and pull the rug from underneath them would be very unfair.””

    The board also approved a policy that will allow the release of administrative and professional employees upon a 90-day notice.

    The new policy will let these employees renew their contracts for the coming school year, with fine print stating their possible release.

    “”With this, now we have the option of giving them a one-year contract renewal which is what we like to do,”” Shelton said. “”This is a much more positive way to deal with the uncertainty.””

    According to UA Director of Media Relations Johnny Cruz, this policy will affect around 2,500 UA administrative and professional employees.

    The policy would only be used under “”severe budget constraints”” a phrase that can differ among departments, Shelton said.

    “”This way we can give people the one-year renewal and have them understand that it’s only under certain conditions,”” he said. “”Hopefully this will be a good message.””

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