This recent update to the 2011 analysis of the Alaska Education Grant Program provides more current information on its use. Over $16.8 million has been awarded since the grant was first distributed in AY06, with nearly $8 million awarded in the last two years alone. An overview of the report's findings were presented in its Executive Sumary, below, and the entire report can be downloaded here. The 2011 report can be downloaded here.
This report builds on the February 2011 report, An Analysis of the Alaska Education Grant Program. At the time of that report's writing, the AEG program had begun awarding students for the Spring semester of 2011. In that year, AY11, the program awarded the second largest amount in a single year ever, at just over $1.5 million. (A special appropriation in AY09 allowed the fund to disburse nearly $2 million in that year, more funds than had been awarded in the three prior years of the program.)
Since the release of the initial report, AEG funding levels continued to increase. AEG-eligible students attending approved institutions in the last two years of the program received $4 million in grant funds each year. This significant increase in funding affects students in many ways. Awards have increased, and the makeup of the student populations receiving AEG funds has changed as more funds became available. This update focuses on the AEG in recent years, and how its impact has changed in light of additional funding.
AEG recipients take on considerable financial costs to attend school, with awards being based on the student's unmet need. Unmet need for purposes of AEG eligibility is based on a formula that considers average annual costs to attend postsecondary education in Alaska, including an allowance for cost of living items such as housing and transportation. In AY13, those costs ranged from $22,397 for independent students attending full-time to a low of $15,430 for dependent half-time students. After accounting for all other sources of funding, students had to have nearly $11,400 in unmet need to receive the AEG. Even with a recent increase in the standard award amount to $1,500, the average recipient still faced over $10,000 in unmet need after receiving the grant.