Changes are coming to the Regents High Honors Endorsement, known as the AIMS scholarship, which covers tuition at Arizona universities for four years.
It's an incentive for high school students to do well on the state-required AIMS test, and it helps universities keep the best students in Arizona.
The program, funded by student tuition dollars, grew too big and too costly. So it's about to change.
The Arizona Board of Regents has reduced the value of the AIMS scholarship from full tuition to 25 percent, effective for students who will be college freshmen in the fall of 2013.
The board also raised the bar on the academic criteria.
The earlier requirements - to exceed standards on the state AIMS test, get "A" and "B" grades in 16 core classes and have a 3.5 or better grade point average - still apply.
But additionally, students will need an ACT score of at least 28 or an SAT score of at least 1,300.
Even that isn't enough to ease the burden because the scholarship is renewable at the dollar amount set in the freshman year, even if tuition increases, for four years. So tuition hikes chip away at the value of the scholarship.
Mary Myles, a sophomore in the student senate who advocates for financial aid, said she relied on the AIMS scholarship to cover her tuition last year.
Tuition went up 20 percent. The scholarship didn't. Instead of covering her full tuition, the scholarship covered 83 percent.
Next year, the scholarship will pay for less of the bill again when tuition goes up and she starts paying an additional tuition required for the business school.
Here's a scenario for the new version of the program: If tuition rises 6.7 percent a year from now until 2016, which is the projection in the UA's strategic plan, a freshman in 2013 could qualify for $2,344 a year, covering 25 percent of tuition in the student's freshman year at the UA and shrinking to 20 percent in the senior year.
However, recent tuition increases have been 20 percent and 24 percent.
Contact reporter Becky Pallack at firstname.lastname@example.org or 807-8012.