Senate panel approves cut in first-year lottery scholarship | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Senate panel approves cut in first-year lottery scholarship

Posted By on Wed, Mar 4, 2015 at 11:33 AM

A Senate committee today approved Sen. Jimmy Hickey's bill to reduce the first-year lottery scholarship from $2,000 to $1,000, but raise the amount in the second year from $3,000 to $4,000.

He'll also make it harder to get the scholarship, requiring a 19 ACT score. Now, a 2.5 GPA also can qualify a student for a scholarship.

Hickey's bill is meant to cope with reduced lottery revenue. It almost certainly will reduce the amount of money given to poor and minority students, who tend to lag on standardized test scores. The lower first-year payment will also be a disincentive to the poorest students to start college.

Lottery revenue, once anticipated to be around $100 million, is expected to be around $75 million this year. Hickey is architect of the legislation tha abolished the lottery commission and put the lottery under the governor's control. He's also been working with a British gambling consultant on ideas to increase sales.

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