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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “Regents keep scholarship, add fine print for faculty”

    TEMPE – During the second half of its March meeting Friday, the Arizona Board of Regents voted against a proposal to halt the AIMS 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 (AIMS) has to stop and has to stop now,”” said Regents Vice President Ernest Calderón.

    Due to the budget crisis, the scholarship was under consideration to be discontinued by UA President Robert Shelton and Arizona State University President Michael Crow, but the regents unanimously passed a motion to keep it exactly 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 it was also 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 passed a motion to approve a policy that will allow the release of administrative and professional employees upon a 90-day notice.

    The new policy will allow these employees to 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 Communications Director Johnny Cruz, this policy will affect around 2,500 UA administrative and professional employees.

    The policy would only be used under “”severe budget constraints”” and that phrase 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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