Changes ahead for lottery scholarship program

LITTLE ROCK (Arkansas News Bureau) Arkansas' lottery scholarship program is expected to go through some changes during the upcoming legislative session, though lawmakers differ on what those changes should be.

One likely outcome is that scholarship amounts will be lowered. The first lottery-funded scholarships, awarded in the 2010-11 school year, were $5,000 per year to attend a four-year school and $2,500 per year to attend a two-year school. By the time the Legislature convened in January 2011, however, it had become clear that the program was not sustainable at that level, so lawmakers reduced the scholarship amounts by 10 percent.

Now the state Department of Higher Education is urging lawmakers to make more adjustments to the program. ADHE officials say that if lottery revenues continue at the current level, the cost to maintain scholarship awards at the current level would exceed revenues and exhaust a $20 million reserve within three years.

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COMPLETE COVERAGEOfficial: Without changes, lottery scholarship program to go broke in 2014 (Nov. 20)Ark. panel recommends cut in lotto scholarships (Dec. 18)Changes ahead for lottery scholarship program (Dec. 27)Bill would alter Ark. lottery scholarship formula (Feb. 12)Lottery scholarships to pay out less (Feb. 26)