More Wyoming students are making use of the Hathaway Scholarship program, which in turn can help keep high school graduates in the state.
According to the Wyoming Department of Education, lawmakers created the Hathaway Scholarship in 2005 as a means to help students pay for college. The Hathaway Scholarship has four award levels, as well as a need-basis scholarship, that are determined by high school GPA, class curriculum, and ACT scores. Once it’s accepted, the Hathaway Scholarship can be used at Wyoming colleges for up to four years of eligibility.
The idea for the Hathaway scholarship was based off of former Gov. Stanley Hathaway’s vision of creating a better Wyoming, according to the Wyoming Historical State Society. Hathaway served as governor from 1967-75.
According to statistics from the Wyoming Department of Education, Hathaway has seen steady growth the last few years. For the 2014-15 school year, 1,930 scholarships were issued, with 1,196 going to the community colleges. Those numbers dipped slightly in 2015-16, with 1,893 total scholarships awarded (1150 to community colleges), before seeing increases the past two years, with 2,196 total students receiving Hathaway funds in 2017-18. Of those, 1,446 were community college students, and 227 of them attended LCCC.
Michelle Panos, communications director, said she has seen Hathaway scholarship usage go up.
“More students continue to initiate the scholarship; since 2014 there has been a 10 percent increase,” Panos said.
In a effort to keep more Wyoming high school students in state, the Legislature passed Senate File 43, which allows for students with special interests in technological areas to gain more Hathaway scholarship eligibility. This, in large part, is due to the demands of Wyoming businesses not having enough people to do the necessary jobs. Panos said that any high school student who is graduating in the year 2019-20 will have the opportunity to either complete the current curriculum that is in place, or the new curriculum that is going to be set forth.
“The new Success Curriculum will take full effect in the 2021 school year,” said Panos.
In addition to SF43, the Expand Wyoming bill, House bill 103, was passed. This bill is geared towards bringing in out-of-state students.
“Expand Wyoming bill, recently passed by the legislature states that each year up to two students from each state contiguous to Wyoming may be awarded a Hathaway Expand Wyoming scholarship, not to exceed an aggregate of twenty-four active awards at any time,” Panos said.
LCCC President Dr. Joe Schaffer said he believes that using Wyoming’s cost of tuition as a way to get out-of-state students to come to Wyoming is important as well as showing what there is to offer.
“LCCC will be breaking ground on a new, 360-bed residence hall this April or May, which will increase our student housing capacity and we believe provide a mechanism through which we can recruit more non-residents, educate them, and get them connected to our community and state,” Schaffer said.