Senate District S Legislative Report

by Senator Lyman Hoffman


Today is day forty-six of this Legislative session. I am currently in travel status. Bush Caucus members, I, Senator Olson and Representatives Edgmon, Foster and McCormick, of the Legislature, are attending Alaska Federation of Natives Alaska Day in Washington, D.C. The Bush Caucus members took this opportunity to personally deliver a copy of House Joint Resolution 6: National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska, that received unanimous approval in both the House and the Senate, to our U.S. Congressional delegation. In addition, through AFN’s Alaska Day, we are also taking advantage of the agenda and meetings with various U.S. Secretary’s on Alaska issues.

This week, the Senate Finance Committee heard the following presentations; Medicaid Enrollment & Spending forecast, Post Covid-19 update from the Alaska Municipal League, SNAP & Medicaid Eligibility and a confirmation hearing of Commissioner-designee Adam Crum with the Department of Revenue.

Next week, I have scheduled the first hearings of two of my Senate Finance budget subcommittees. One, the department of Commerce, Community & Economic Development and two, the department of Education and Early Development.

Good luck to all the Iditarod participants!

A Message from Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education

Nearly 2 million high school graduates across the US did not complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in 2021. Without FAFSA, those students were severely limited in accessing sources of educational financial aid. The FAFSA application must be completed to again access to the largest education funding source in the US, Federal Student Aid (FSA). Federal Student Aid provides more than $150 billion annually in student aid. As of June 2022, the National FAFSA Tracker showed Alaska high school seniors are completing the FAFSA at the lowest rate in the US, with a completion rate of only 28%. A couple stats for students about to graduate.

•Alaska High School Class of 2021 left nearly $6m in Pell Grant funding unused by not completing the FAFSA.

•Alaska students will not receive the Alaska Performance Scholarships, Alaska Education Grant, and many other Alaska institution-based financial aid awards without completing the FAFSA.

•Alaska’s low-income student and families, who have the highest financial need, cannot access need based funding without the FAFSA.ß

The Alaska Commission of Postsecondary Education is committed to helping students and families complete the FAFSA to increase Alaskans’ access to critically important sources of financial aid. The Commission works in partnership with school districts, non-profit organizations, Alaska Native organizations, and others to deliver free trainings and information sessions to high school classrooms and community mentors as well as one-on-one sessions with students and families to guide them through the FAFSA completion process. The Commission also provides services and support to build awareness around financial aid literacy and works with families to share the critical tools needed to access financial aid for your student.