The Wyoming Department of Education is currently taking public comment on the Hathaway scholarship, following changes made to the program during the 2017 and 2018 legislative sessions.
The Hathaway Scholarship provides $16 million per year to over 5,500 Wyoming students, according to the WDE. As long as they’ve maintained a certain GPA, completed required classes and scored adequately on college entrance exams, then tuition assistance is available at the University of Wyoming or one of the state’s seven community colleges. And students must be U.S. citizens.
One change allows students enrolled in Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses to use weighted GPAs, and the other allows students to postpone using the scholarship for up to four years after graduation. Kari Eakins, the WDE Communications Director, said while the department wants specific feedback on these changes, more general feedback about the administration of the scholarship is also welcome.
“The Hathaway Scholarship is one of the biggest impact programs that we have at the Wyoming Department of Education. It affects pretty much every student in the state of Wyoming because it gives them an option of what they want to do once they’re done with their K-12 education,” said Eakins.
Eakins said the WDE has been stepping up outreach efforts across the state to help all students take advantage of the Hathaway, but there’s always more that could be done.
“We definitely want to be hearing from anyone and everyone about how this program is being run. If it is preparing students for college? If it is doing enough to give them that option? If it really is helping our students do what’s best for them once they are done with high school? And this is an opportunity to weigh in,” said Eakins.
Correction: This story originally reported that according to the WDE all Wyoming students are eligible for the Hathaway Scholarship, but as previous WPR reporting indicates Wyoming students who are not U.S. citizens are excluded from receiving the scholarship.