With House and Senate approval today of bills providing $5,000 lottery-funded scholarships for four-year college students and $2,500 for two-year college students, Lt. Gov. Bill Halter issues a news release to toot his horn.
No doubt about it. Credit or blame goes to Halter. Initial recipients of the money are the biggest winners. They benefit before colleges start ratcheting up tuition to capture the new money.
HALTER NEWS RELEASE
The approval today of legislation setting lottery-funded scholarship awards of $5,000 for four-year college students and $2,500 for two-year students is the latest in a series of victories for Arkansas students and families.
The Arkansas Scholarship Lottery is performing at a level that is exceeding all expectations. Net lottery proceeds for college scholarships are projected to reach $112 million in the first 12 months. Tens of millions of Arkansas dollars previously spent playing lottery games in five bordering states are now being invested in higher education here at home.
The Arkansas Department of Higher Education is just a few weeks away from notifying applicants that they meet the eligibility standards for scholarship awards that will pay a significant portion of their tuition upon admission to a public or private college or university in Arkansas. Final notification of more than 25,000 Arkansans that they are scholarship winners will likely begin in May. These winners will include graduating high school seniors, current Arkansas college students, and non-traditional adult students.
The culmination of what has been a three-year effort to bring a Scholarship Lottery to Arkansas comes in August, with the beginning of the 2010-2011 school year. That’s when the scholarship dollars will be deposited into Arkansas students’ accounts at state colleges and universities – two-year and four-year, public and private.
Thank you, HOPE for Arkansas, for collecting the signatures needed to place a constitutional amendment authorizing a Scholarship Lottery on the November 2008 General Election ballot. Thank you, Arkansas voters, for approving the Scholarship Lottery Amendment by a nearly 2-to-1 margin. Thank you, Arkansas legislators, for fulfilling the will of the people by establishing the Scholarship Lottery as state law and setting the scholarship awards.
Thanks to everyone involved for bringing us nearer the day when all Arkansans who work hard and play by the rules will have the opportunity for a higher education.