Deborah Noyes, a senior at Ogden High School, wants to be a teacher. She has already been accepted at Brigham Young University. She thinks she should get equal consideration with other potential college students for state-supported scholarships granted students who want to teach and will agree to teach in Utah.
If HB78 successfully makes it through the 1991 Legislature, she will stand a chance. The bill would expand the scope of the scholarships, allowing students to use them at private schools, including BYU and Westminster, which train teachers. BYU produces about half the total number of new teachers in the state every year.About $600,000 in Career Teaching Scholarships provide help for up to 365 students per year in Utah colleges of education. The recipients agree to teach in Utah for at least two years in return for the assistance.
The scholarships have been restricted to state-supported institutions, said the sponsor, Rep. Kim Burningham, R-Bountiful, because there have been constitutional concerns about expenditure of state funds for private education. However, a constitutional revision has since allowed the state to provide indirect aid to private schools. Since money in the scholarship program goes to students, not institutions, there would be no constitutional question, he said.
Some members of the Education Committee were concerned that the private schools, with tuitions that are 1.5 to 5 times greater than the state institutions, would get a disproportionate share of the scholarship money. Burningham agreed to an amendment, to be made on the House floor, that would restrict any student from receiving more than the top tuition charged by a state-supported school.
Cecilia Foxley, assistant commissioner for higher education, told the committee that the funding for the scholarship program needs to increase, but that will be a separate issue studied by the Higher Education Appropriation Committee.