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Arizona Senate Committee Approves Scholarships To Boost Community College Enrollment

An Arizona Senate Committee unanimously approved setting aside $10 million for "last dollar" scholarships. These are designed to help high school graduates who are just a few dollars shy of a college education.

Rep. Aaron Lieberman (D-Paradise Valley) says COVID-19 has hurt community college enrollment, which could have a direct effect on economic development.

"Our community colleges are really struggling with COVID. The matriculation group, the group that normally graduates high school and goes straight into community colleges, are down almost 40,000 statewide. Most of those are actually the full-time, first-time students that are the most likely to complete our community colleges," Lieberman said. 

The bill specifically targets 2020 and 2021 Arizona high school graduates. Eligibility would be based on those who qualify for a Pell Grant, which is a family income of less than $50,000.

The measure now heads to the full Senate.

Jill Ryan joined KJZZ in 2020 as a morning reporter, and she is currently a field correspondent and Morning Edition producer.