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November 10, 2012 - Election 2012

The election is behind us and there were quite a few state ballot questions concerning education, scholarships and the like. Here is a quick update of a few.

Arizona had Proposition 204 (Quality Education and Jobs Initiative) which would have increased the state sales tax by a penny, with the proceeds to benefit education, state infrastructure and the children's health insurance fund. Proposition 204 was defeated.

Heading across country, Florida was voting on Amendment 8, which would have removed the ban on allowing public money to fund religious entities including schools. This amendment was defeated by a 56-44% margin.

Maryland In-State Tuition Referendum, also known as the Dream Act Referendum, would allow undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition provided they could meet the requirements. They would have needed to attend a Maryland high school for at least three years and show that their parents had filed taxes. These students would need to attend Community College for two years and upon successful completion, would be able to transfer to a four year school and get the in-state tuition rate. This ballot question passed by 58-42%.

South Dakota had several education related ballot questions. The Initiated Measure 15 would have added 1 cent to the state sales tax and the added revenue would have benefited education and Medicaid reimbursement. It failed to pass.

Constitutional Amendment 0 would require the yearly transfer of 4% from the Cement Plant Trust Fund to the General Fund each year, the sum to support education. This item passed.

October 7, 2012 - Pittsburgh Promises Scholarships In 2007, UPMC (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center) offered to fund scholarships with up to $100 million over 10 years. They put up $10 million up front with no strings and offered $10 million per year as long as the city could come up with $15 million as a match. While not able to fund the full amount for the past few years, there has still been a lot of money flowing into the fund. With about $150 million pledged so far, the Pittsburgh Promise will be able to fund scholarships of up to $40,000 over 4 years for students in the Pittsburgh area meeting the requirements. For more information, go to the Pittsburgh Promise website.

Jan. 20, 2012 - PG&E Bright Minds Scholarship

Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) are offering scholarships for students in their service area (Central & Northern California). Qualified students may be eligible to win one of 10 $30,000 scholarships, which may be renewable. Finalists will receive a $2,500 scholarship, which is not renewable, though students may reapply each year.

So, if you are getting ready to enter college in the fall and are at least 16 years old, go to for more information and requirements about the Bright Minds Scholarships. One nice thing about this scholarship is that it's available to high school grads, GED holders, and non-traditional students. Applications must be submitted by February 17, 2012.

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