The Alaska Performance Scholarship provides several thousand dollars per year to students that are residents of Alaska with excellent academic performance. This scholarship requires students to take specific classes, fill out a FAFSA application, and take the SAT or ACT to qualify.
Alaska Performance Scholarship
Pros & Cons
Alaska Performance Scholarship
Alaska Performance Scholarship
As the costs associated with postsecondary education continue to rise, students and local governments continue to look for ways to offset costs and make it easier for high school students to pursue further education.
Scholarships do not need to be repaid, and these funds can quickly add up to significant sums for students. The cost of tuition, books, supplies, room, and board can run into thousands of dollars each semester, and not all families can bear the expense.
Alaska is one of the states in the US that sets aside money for their students to help offset the costs of further education. While students must complete some set criteria of coursework to qualify, and must also take additional standardized tests, many students can secure several thousand dollars for their education each year.
What Is the Alaska Performance Scholarship?
The Alaska Performance Scholarship is a program run by the state of Alaska which sets aside scholarship funds for students that meet a set of criteria and have completed specific courses during their high school curriculum.
The scholarship includes a list of approved courses for math, science, social studies, world language, and language arts. The two curriculum options available to students must be complete and part of the student's permanent record on file at their school.
Public schools within Alaska provide students with a list of courses that they can take to meet APS requirements to accumulate the credits that they need to qualify for this scholarship. Students are also required to complete a FAFSA application by June 30th of each year for their financial need to be adequately assessed.
With this scholarship, students can complete a variety of higher education goals. This is including technical certificates, associates degrees, and bachelor's degrees. Students may defer part of a year of funding if they will be attending school part-time. This is to use the funds during a semester when they will attend full time.
Although the limit on this scholarship is eight semesters, students can apply for extensions. It is by emailing their request. They accompany their request with a verification letter from their academic institution. The letter must be with more detailed information and they must also send it 30 days before the expiration of the scholarship.
Role of the Parents for the Alaska Performance Scholarship
They use the funds from this scholarship at institutions within the state of Alaska. They encourage parents to start working and discussing with their children early. This is to prepare them to qualify for this scholarship. Parents can meet with school counselors or the district office to discuss specific classes and GPA requirements. Also the test scores that a student will need to succeed.
Students can also track their progress online as part of their Alaska Student Aid Portal account. Here they can monitor their eligibility status, confirm their award level, and verify that all of their information is correct.
Once they finalize their award, students can also track their scholarship disbursement and usage at their institution. Unfortunately, only the student can log into this portal and parents are not permitted alternate sign-ins even if the child is under 18 years old.
How Do I Qualify for The Alaska Performance Scholarship?
Students must be residents of Alaska and must complete a FAFSA by the deadline to be considered for this scholarship. They must also complete the list of required classes as part of their high school education and receive passing grades. Half credit courses are only counted as half a credit for this scholarship, while regular full credit courses will be counted as one credit.
Completing the FAFSA is a crucial step in qualifying for the Alaska Performance Scholarship. This scholarship requires students to apply the fall before the semester they would like to start college, and reapplying on the FAFSA website each year is also required.
This scholarship is determined based on information students enter into the FAFSA along with their GPA and test scores. Students can also create an account to track their status on the Alaska Student Aid Portal.
Private school students and homeschooled students will need to contact the Department of Education and Early Development to submit a request to determine whether they are eligible for this scholarship. The request includes completing a form that must be submitted by July 15th of each year along with the necessary documents.
What Is the Award Amount for the Alaska Performance Scholarship?
This scholarship is broken up into three different award levels. Each one has their own requirements that students must meet to be eligible:
Level 1: Up to $4755 per year
- High School GPA of 3.5 or greater
- ACT 25, new SAT 1210, old SAT 1680
Level 2: Up to $3566 per year
- High School GPA of 3.0
- ACT 23, new SAT 1130, old SAT 1560
Level 3: Up to $2378 per year
- High School GPA of 2.5
- ACT 21, new SAT 1060, old SAT 1450
Each level of this scholarship also specifies the set curriculum that high school students must have completed before applying for this scholarship. It also notes minimum SAT and ACT scores for each level that applicants must meet.
The SAT scores posted to reflect a change in the SAT that took effect on March 1, 2016. If the SAT was taken prior to that date, it is scored on a 2400-point scale. For tests taken after March 1, 2016, they are considered the “new” SAT and scored on a 1600-point scale.
The Alaska Performance Scholarship is typically paid out directly to the postsecondary institution in two payments. Usually, 50% of the amount is sent when the student is enrolled, and the remaining funds transfer at the midpoint of the program term.
Uses of Funds
They typically apply the scholarship to the student's debt for that year and paid out any remaining funds to the student. While they can use these funds for a college education, they can also use them for technical certificates and other trade school certificates.
The must use up their full award amount within six years of high school graduation and can remain in effect for at least eight full semesters. This scholarship also comes with a list of approved schools where the funds can be used by students.
How Do I Apply for the Alaska Performance Scholarship?
To get students on the path to eligibility for this scholarship, they will need to start by working with their high school counselor upon beginning high school. Their courses will be based on the checklist provided by the scholarship and students will be able to complete a “My Course Plan” as part of their Alaska Career Information System portfolio.
Students should then put their efforts into achieving the highest GPA possible and prepare themselves thoroughly for taking the SAT and possibly the ACT. It is recommended that students take these tests early in case they need to retake it for a better score.
For those students that wish to continue in a trade school or other qualifying certificate program, they can use WorkKeys to gain the testing that they need. WorkKeys are a different kind of assessment tool created by the ACT organization to help assess an individual's workplace skills.
WorkKeys help to verify a student’s ability to be a productive member of the workforce even if they choose not to attend a 4-year college. Students will receive scores after being tested on a variety of foundational skills needed to be successful in the workplace.
The assessments include topics such as graphic literacy, applied math, workplace documents, business writing, applied technology, workplace observation, talent, and fit. Students will receive scores for each of these assessments that they factor into their potential scholarship amount.
Students can keep up to date on the progress of their scholarship through their Alaska Student Aid Portal account. This valuable account should provide them all of the information needed to understand their award amount. Also, the timing of its dispersal, and how many semesters of funding they have left.
While this portal is not open to parents, students may require parent help to apply for the FAFSA each year. This is a requirement for this scholarship to continue. Students must also maintain a GPA of 2.5 or higher to continue receiving scholarship funds.
Once the June deadline for the FAFSA has passed, the student’s Alaska Student Aid Portal account should have updated information on their status by August. Between August and September, the student’s qualifying post-secondary institution should confirm their enrollment.
At this time students should verify that all of the information is correct regarding their degree, certificate program, institution, and enrolled credits. They confirm this information by the date of the school’s enrollment deadline to avoid delays.
During September, your institution will begin to request scholarship funds on behalf of you, the student. Subtract the first installment from your overall debt for that school year, with the second payment dispersed when the next term or semester begins.
Students should stay in close contact with their financial aid office at this time to ensure that they disperse their scholarship money in a timely manner and that they promptly pay any outstanding tuition expenses or other student fees.
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