In close to half a dozen legislative hearings so far this year, legislators have questioned whether Alaska Performance Scholarship awards for students attending private postsecondary institutions are constitutional under Article IIV of the Alaska Constitution. The Alaska Supreme Court identified four items in the 1979 Sheldon Jackson College vs. State of Alaska case:
- The class primarily benefitted by the tuition grant program consisted only of private colleges and their students;
- The public funds expended under Alaska Stat. 14.40.776 constituted nothing less than a subsidy of the education received by the student at his private college and thus implicated fully the core concern of the direct benefit provision;
- The magnitude of benefits bestowed under the program was substantial; and
- The students to whom benefits were paid were merely conduits for the transmission of state funds to private colleges.
APS awards for students attending private postsecondary institutions have not been challenged in court, but possibly wouldn't stand up to a court challenge.