A letter to the Idaho Legislature has turned into the inspiration behind more investments into the Gem State’s higher education students. College of Western Idaho (CWI) Student Body President, Flora Koenig, along with her counterparts at three other colleges and universities, were recognized by Gov. Brad Little at the annual State of the State and Budget Address, where he mentioned their letter helped create a future $8,500 scholarship.
In October 2022, Koenig, along with three other Idaho college and university Student Body Presidents, drafted a letter to the Idaho Legislature urging the need for more funding and direct investments in Idaho students. They believe the added support may entice more graduating Idaho high school students in the state to attend a community college, trade school, or a traditional four-year institution. Ultimately the goal is to add them to Idaho’s growing workforce.
“With the economic growth and demand by Idaho industries, now more than ever we can’t afford for our students to leave Idaho,” the letter writes.
At Little’s State of the State, he introduced the ‘Idaho First’ plan, which aims to invest more money into education, workforce, infrastructure, and various other areas around the state. Little shared part of the plan would open ‘Idaho Launch,’ a state-funded $8,500 scholarship for graduating high school students in Idaho to attend an Idaho university, community college, career technical, or workforce training program of their choice.
During his speech, Little credited the letter Koenig and her counterparts wrote and even introduced them to the Legislature.
“It is amazing to know that I'm a student in a state that really values education, takes the voices of students seriously, and is willing to listen to us when we have suggestions,” Koenig said. “When we see there's potential for student growth and retention in the state, we're really proud to have been a part of this process and that Governor Little is honoring the wishes of students here.”
The Idaho Launch scholarship will be available in 2024.