AR Lottery Scholarship Amount, Requirements Could Soon Change

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LITTLE ROCK, AR — The Arkansas Senate voted to pass Bill Five which would reduce Arkansas Lottery funded scholarships.

Republican Senator Jim Hickey out of Texarkana is pushing for the change saying the state has been losing money within the lottery.

“And the current projections are as of February 16, that we would be like $20 million and 613 thousand in the red,” says Hickey.

Hickey’s bill would:
  • Reduce scholarship money from $2,000 to $1,000 for freshman.
  • Increase award money from $3,000 to $4,000 for college sophomores.
  • Eliminate the 2.5 requirement.
  • While adding a student must make a 19 on the ACT test.
Some opposing the bill like Senator Stephanie Flowers out of Pine Bluff says Hickey’s bill will shut out students in her area who probably won’t make a 19 on the ACT test.

“And they have been in the past been able to use that 2.5 GPA to qualify them for the scholarship that’s gone, so you’re going to have a much number reduced students that qualify for the scholarships,” says Flowers.

“I think the intent when the public voted the lottery in is not that we would give scholarships to individuals who weren’t performing, but able to perform, what this bill does it doesn’t disqualify anybody from being able to get the scholarship they do have to get the 19, but they can take that act test multiple times,” says Hickey.

Flowers says she will ask her constituents to stop buying lottery tickets.

“If he were in my shoes would he tell his constituents, my constituents to continue to buy lottery tickets, I don’t think so,” says Flowers.

At the end of the day Hickey says, “It’s about a cash flow issue.”

And saving the state money. The bill now moves to the house committee for a vote.

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