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Arkansas Lottery may not be able to meet scholarship demands

Arkansas LotteryArkansas Lottery: Arkansas Lottery may not be able to meet scholarship demands

Panel considered reducing scholarship amounts

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The legislative committee that oversees the state lottery yesterday considered, but ultimately tabled, a proposal to recommend reducing lottery scholarship amounts by 10 percent for the second class of lottery recipients.

Last year the Legislature set the amount for the first group of lottery recipients at $5,000 per year to attend a four-year school and $2,500 per year to attend a two-year school.

Rep. Barry Hyde, D-North Little Rock, co-chairman of the oversight committee, said Thursday that some number-crunching done Wednesday showed that if the second class of lottery recipients also receives scholarships at that level, "we will be out of money in the third year."

Hyde asked the committee to recommend to the Legislature that new lottery scholarships be lowered to $4,500 a year to attend a four-year school and $2,250 to attend a two-year school. The first class of lottery recipients would continue to receive $5,000 or $2,500 each year, he said.

Hyde had said as recently as last week he expected the Legislature to make no change to the scholarship amounts, but he said Thursday the numbers suggest that is not feasible. He said the number of scholarship recipients this year exceeded expectations, and the percentage of recipients choosing to attend a four-year school was 80 percent, exceeding the projected percentage of 65 percent.

Lottery scholarships were awarded in the fall to 30,575 students, and another 4,265 students have been awarded scholarships for the spring semester.

Several lawmakers said Thursday they wanted to wait until the session that starts Jan. 10 to make a recommendation.

"To avoid bad press and a whole lot of calls from constituents, it's better to wait to know exactly the amount that we're going to have and change it one time, and I think toward the end of the session is the best time for that," said Sen. Mary Anne Salmon, D-North Little Rock.

Some lawmakers said they wanted to gather public input.

"These major decisions, I think we need a lot more dialogue and input from those individuals who are affected every day, and even the people of this great state," said Sen. Tracy Steele, D-North Little Rock.

A motion by Salmon to delay making a recommendation until the session passed on a voice vote.

Hyde told reporters later he had pushed for a recommendation before the session because the oversight committee is charged with making a report to the Legislature before the end of the year. The makeup of the committee will be different in the coming session, he noted.

Hyde said he did not know whether he would be reappointed to co-chair the panel.

Matt DeCample, spokesman for Gov. Mike Beebe, said Thursday the governor supports setting the scholarship amounts responsibly so the state does not have to break commitments to students.

"The governor has said all along that it's important to ensure that whatever you promise students coming into the system that they're going to have, that you have a system and the revenue to ensure that they keep that," he said.

In a statement today, Jerry Cox, executive director of the Family Council, said it was "appalling" that lawmakers were considering reducing scholarships instead of cutting administrative or advertising costs first.

"If money is tight, why do scholarships have to be the first thing that gets cut?" Cox asked.
The conservative group has long opposed the lottery program.

Lottery officials say the lottery's administrative costs so far this fiscal year have amounted to 1.8 percent of total revenue, and advertising expenses have amounted to 0.8 percent.

Also today, the committee voted to recommend that college students who have completed more than 130 hours work at a four-year school or more than 66 hours at a two-year school be ineligible for a lottery scholarship.

State Higher Education Director Jim Purcell said the purpose of the scholarship is to help students obtain a degree, but some students "just like to take courses."

The committee also voted to recommend that a high school graduate who delays entering college for up to a year for certain reasons be considered a traditional student and therefore be guaranteed a scholarship if he or she qualifies. The reasons could include a medical condition of the student or an immediate family member, a personal or family emergency, military service or a humanitarian project.

The delay could be extended up to two years if a humanitarian project requires a two-year commitment.

Arkansas News Bureau

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5 comments. Last comment 4 years ago by peteryak.
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Littleoldlady's avatar - basket
Clarksville
United States
Member #487
July 15, 2002
17638 Posts
Offline
Posted: December 31, 2010, 12:37 pm - IP Logged

I don't think they will be really able to do anything much until they see the "product" they are getting for their money.  In other words, 3 more years to determine the real effectiveness of their schlorships.  Are more than 50% completing degree requirements? What is the attrition rate?  Do they have a program in place where the student must repay if they default on their part?  What is the current GPA for the scholarship?  Should it be higher?

If you know your number is going to hit, have patience and then KILL IT!

You never know when you will get another hit.

    Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
    Chief Bottle Washer
    New Jersey
    United States
    Member #1
    May 31, 2000
    21529 Posts
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    Posted: December 31, 2010, 10:22 pm - IP Logged

    I don't think they will be really able to do anything much until they see the "product" they are getting for their money.  In other words, 3 more years to determine the real effectiveness of their schlorships.  Are more than 50% completing degree requirements? What is the attrition rate?  Do they have a program in place where the student must repay if they default on their part?  What is the current GPA for the scholarship?  Should it be higher?

    That sounds sensible to me. 

    I think the only reason they rush into the scholarship/education thing is because that's how they sell the concept of a lottery to the holier-than-thou politicians who wouldn't support it otherwise.

    If the lottery were a real private business, there's no way they would rush into the big scholarship giveaways without a good deal of research first.  (To make sure they don't run out of money.)

     

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      Avatar
      NASHVILLE, TENN
      United States
      Member #33372
      February 20, 2006
      1000 Posts
      Online
      Posted: January 3, 2011, 11:51 am - IP Logged

      If there is not enough money coming from the lottery in Ar-Can-Ash, they might try switching to ball drops and show the drawings live on TV.  Perhaps revenue might increase.

        sully16's avatar - sharan
        Listens to the wind

        United States
        Member #81740
        October 28, 2009
        19535 Posts
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        Posted: January 4, 2011, 7:04 am - IP Logged

        Seems like they need someone else in charge .

        There's only one US Flag


          United States
          Member #103898
          January 6, 2011
          25 Posts
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          Posted: January 7, 2011, 9:27 pm - IP Logged

          yeah arkansas is already a screwed up state.

          im pretty sure they are just pocketing all the money, thats why they are claiming they dont have enough money. and they are cheating the people with their state lottery.

          they should televise and drop balls for their lottery.

          same goes for oklahoma. i am on vacation here visitng family and they stopped televising and dropping the balls for pick3,cash 5. they claimed becauseit was too expensive. but thats all BS. probably too many people were winning 500$ and they were losing more money than making. now all pick3,cash 5 are computerized in okc.

          oklahoma has more than enough money though, they have only had lottery since 2006. and they have already raised more than 400$million. the state stil claims that they dont have enough money for education. oklahoma is a state full of crooks. same goes for arkansas. politicians and governors just pocketing all the money.