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Students Receive Reduced Scholarship Award Notices

The Arkansas Department of Higher Education says 10,000 students received e-mail notifications Monday they qualify to receive a lottery scholarship.  But one high school senior tells KARK the award amount is far from what she expected.
The Arkansas Department of Higher Education says 10,000 students received e-mail notifications Monday they qualify to receive a lottery scholarship.  But one high school senior tells KARK the award amount is far from what she expected.

In about a month, Alex Houchen won't have any use for her locker.  The Mills High senior is ready for college and her lottery scholarship, which this fall comes in at $2,000.

"It's disappointing because every little bit counts and that extra thousand or two-thousand dollars, it does make a difference," Houchen says.

Lower ticket sales means the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery ratcheted down its target for lottery proceeds from $98 million to $90 million last fall.

Legislators reacted.
   
Act 234 shifted scholarship award amounts to a tiered structure at 4-year colleges with $2000 in year one, moving up to $5,000 by a student's senior year.  The amount for 2-year colleges was set at $2000 for both years.

ADHE held off on awarding scholarships until the legislative session wrapped up on April 23 because of possible competing bills, interim director Shane Broadway says.

"We always look forward to award day and letting those first 10,000 students know they qualified," Broadway says.

But Broadway says he knows students, and especially parents, may be frustrated with award amounts that seem to be reduced on an annual basis.

"Prepare.  Prepare alternatives.  These are funds that are dependent upon people playing a game and there ups and downs in terms of when those tickets are bought," Broadway says.

Arkansas Scholarship Lottery director Bishop Woosley said Monday the amount of money transferred into the scholarship fund is $6.4 million less than the same time last year.

"We still think we'll be able to reach our $90 million proceeds goal," Woosley says.

Houchen says she is grateful for any amount of lottery scholarship but the uncertainty has made planning for college more complicated.

"People in my school year, we didn't hear about this until after we applied, so we're sitting here writing out what we think we're going to have to spend and you come down to the last minute and that's not the case," Houchen says.

Applicants have until June 1 to apply and must have a 2.5 GPA or a 18 ACT score to qualify.  Click here to apply.
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