JUNEAU, Alaska — The state has awarded about $3 million in student scholarships under a program championed by Gov. Sean Parnell.

That's half the amount provided by the Legislature earlier this year. Of the 2,364 students who qualified for the aid, just 870 accepted it.

But the coordinator for the Alaska Performance Scholarship program, Shari Paul, calls this a great start, given the short timeframe the state had to get word of the program out.

Lawmakers set up the framework for the program last year but there was uncertainty about whether it would be funded. The money to provide scholarships to 2011 graduates who met the eligibility requirements was included in the budget bill that passed in May.

The scholarship also must be used at Alaska schools.