By Daniel Bendtsen
Via Wyoming News Exchange
LARAMIE — Each new session of the Wyoming Legislature brings a handful of bills that aim to revised access to Hathaway scholarships and, in turn, affect the student body at the University of Wyoming.
This year, legislators introduced six bills targeting Hathaway. Half died in their chamber of origin, and only two have become law.
The most significant change to the Hathaway
program comes at the hands of House Speaker Steve Harshman, R-Casper, who’s been a “frequent flyer” when it comes to sponsoring Hathaway legislation.
This year, he revived a bill he had previously introduced in 2017. This time around, the bill had enough momentum to make it to the finish line.
House Bill 133 will allow, for the first time, Hathaway scholarships to be awarded to non-Wyoming students.
Now the Wyoming Department of Education can award up to 12 “Hathaway expand Wyoming scholarships” each year — two to each of the six states contiguous to Wyoming.
Each non-Wyoming student to receive Hathaway scholarships must earn at least a 3.75 GPA and earn a score within the 97th percentile on an ACT-like test.
Out-of-state students would be required to repay their scholarship if they do not work or attend graduate school in the state.
The bill did not include an appropriation, though it did create an account that would eventually be used to fund the scholarships.
Under the current structure, the out-of-state Hathaway account will rely on private donations to create an endowment, with scholarships to first be awarded once that account reaches $10 million.
Meredith Asay, UW’s governmental relations director, said the scholarships will eventually — once they’re funded — become a resource for UW to recruit more out-of-state students.
“I don’t see this scholarship as happening any time soon,” she said last week during a town hall meeting.
The only other Hathaway bill to pass the Legislature this year revises the requirements for students to receive a Hathaway “Honor” or “Performance” scholarship. Currently, students must take two years of a foreign language and two years of either fine arts, career and technical education, or additional foreign language.
Senate File 43, sponsored by the Joint Education Committee, makes it easier to use vocational education to qualify for the scholarship.
The old requirements are replaced with a requirement stating students must take four years total of a foreign language, career and technical education, or fine and performing arts.
One Hathaway bill that almost became law but died on a 14-15 Senate vote was introduced by Harshman and would have slightly increased the amount of funding students would get from the Hathaway program.