Senate Bill 475 regarding who is eligible to receive Associated Students of Idaho State University (ASISU) scholarships was passed during the Oct. 8 senate meeting.
The bill adds on to the language for scholarship eligibility, stating that individuals who have their cost of tuition and fees paid for by other scholarships may not be eligible to receive one from ASISU.
After hearing concerns from students due to the original wording of Bill 475, which stated those who had their tuition and fees paid for by other scholarships will not be eligible, a decision was made to amend the language.
This was first brought up when ASISU President Kyle Son addressed the senate.
College of Science and Engineering Senator Adam Thayer then made a motion during the discussion period for Bill 475 to change the wording, which passed.
After the changes were made, mixed emotions swirled throughout the senate.
School of Graduate Studies Senator Kofi Saahene echoed a common sentiment throughout the night regarding involving constituents in the process.
“With the wording change it is more ambiguous now,” he stated. “This is not how I had the conversation with my constituents.”
Similarly, Division of Health Sciences Senator Sam Perry removed himself from sponsorship of the bill.
On the other side of things, College of Education Senator Bea Valenica utilized face-to-face communication to make her decision on how to vote on Bill 475, stating that in a survey of 100 students, 68 said they would vote yes, while just 11 said no. The remaining students reportedly did not have an opinion either way.
For Division of Health Sciences Senator Jordan Withers, his results were much different.
“An overwhelming number of people said no because it was ambiguous in terms,” he said.
During the president’s address to the senate, Son brought forth information he had received from Associate Director of Scholarships Deb Green.
According to the information Son presented from Green, 450 students applied in the previous semester for this scholarship. About 150 were awarded a scholarship. Of those 150 individuals, 20 would have been deemed ineligible with the original wording of Bill 475.
With the rewording, it is left up for discussion on whether a student is eligible or not for the scholarship.
ASISU scholarships are merit based, something Son stated is still the case.
“It is and still would be awarded based on academic merit. I believe that scholarship should first and foremost go to academic expenses,” Son said.
College of Arts and Letters Senator Daniel Shelden was unable to attend the meeting, however was still able to have a proxy vote in his place through his fellow College of Arts and Letters Senator Morgan Pitcock. He submitted a statement for Pitcock to read so that his voice would still be heard.
“We’re making no amendment changes,” Shelden’s statement read. “Just making sure the money is staying within the university.”
Those against the legislation expressed concern that the wording change would result in a need-based scholarship, something that Son acknowledged is not the purpose of the ASISU scholarship.