CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Statistics show that the Hathaway Scholarship program is giving Wyoming junior high and high school students incentive to perform better in the classroom, a University of Wyoming official said.
Mike Massie, special assistant to the UW president, presented figures to the Legislature's Joint Education Committee on Tuesday in Riverton showing that a higher percentage of students entering UW with the scholarship are receiving the top award than when the scholarship program began seven years ago.
"What we found out is that there was a much higher percentage of those students earning the honors level, the highest level, than there were previously, which indicates that the Hathaway Scholarship program is providing an incentive to junior high and high school students to do their best in order to access the highest level of financial support," Massie said in a telephone interview.
Under the Hathaway Scholarship program, Wyoming residents entering an in-state college can receive money to help pay their tuition. There are four levels of scholarship awards based on the student's high school grades, test scores and curriculum.
The top scholarship, honors, provides $3,200 a year in aid, while the bottom scholarships pay out $1,600 a year. The scholarship cannot be used for out-of-state colleges.
Massie said the statistics also indicate that keeping Hathaway Scholarship recipients in school benefits them in the long run.
Those who receive the lowest scholarship awards have dropout rates of 34 percent to 36 percent after their first year in college, compared to only 7 percent to 12 percent for the honors scholarship recipients, he said.
But those Hathaway students who stay in college eventually end up graduating with a B average and put themselves in position for good paying jobs, Massie said.
The key is to keep those students from leaving college, he said.
"And if you do that, then eventually before they graduate, the academics kick in and they wind up with good GPAs," he said.