Lottery Scholarship not as lucky
Published: Thursday, February 21, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 21, 2013 14:02
Incoming freshmen students will no longer have the same Lottery Scholarship as college students have currently.
The Arkansas House approved changes to the award on Monday, according to the press release.
Lawmakers voted 69-21 to change the award into a tiered structure that starts at $2,000 for freshmen at four-year colleges and is increased by $1,000 each year, capping at $5,000 for seniors, according to the press release.
“We had that tiered system years ago,” Terri Finney, ASU financial aid director, said. “This isn’t anything not seen before so we aren’t too concerned because we’ve done that.”
According to the press release, supporters say lottery funding can’t sustain the current payout of $4,500 per year for university students and $2,250 for community college students.
This will affect students starting higher education in the fall of this year.
While the measure to create the tiered system passed, the changes haven’t been approved yet.
According to the press release, the Senate Education Committee advanced the legislation Wednesday, sending it to the full Senate for a vote.
Finney understands the changes have to be done due to funding. “It all boils down to staying in the budget,” Finney said. “We will still continue to help as many students as we can.”
Hannah Persing, a sophomore communication disorders major of Fayetteville, said she got the Lottery Scholarship her freshman year. “I got to go to college for these first two years of school without having to get loans,” Persing said. “I am able to spend more money on my hobbies and things that I enjoy doing than having to save money constantly.”
Finney said the Financial Aid office would work hard to get the freshmen coming next fall more work-study.
“So far we have not seen changes to the prerequisites of the application for the Lottery Scholarship,” Finney said.
Persing thinks the changes will impact the incoming freshmen in a negative way. “I think it will affect the freshmen significantly,” Persing said. “They might have to apply for a job during there first year in college so they might be able to pay the difference.”
While the funding for the Lottery Scholarship will go down, Finney said more is being added to other scholarships. “There will be more money added to scholarships for nontraditional students and the Pell Grant will increase a bit,” Finney said.
According to the press release, the proposal also increases from $12 million to $16 million for scholarships that fund nontraditional students — which is any student who did not enroll in college immediately following high school.
There is good and bad in this situation, Finney said. “In addition, more people will be eligiable for the Pell Grant and nontraditional students will have more funding for school,” Finney said. “It will no longer be based on just income.”
Governor Mike Beebe is still reviewing the proposed changes, according to the press release.
Matt DeCample, spokesman, said “(The governor) wants to review the financial analysis before taking a position.”