Arkansas Department of Higher Education Director Shane Broadway says expected cuts to state scholarship programs will affect students applying for those awards for this coming school year and beyond.
He says during the recent legislative session the Department didn’t get a requested additional $7 million to shore up estimated shortfalls, but did get $2 million to save the Governor’s Distinguished Scholarships. That scholarship goes to 300 high-achieving students.
“Now that the session is over, we are going through our processes and beginning to notify all the programs outside the Governor’s Distinguished [Scholarship] that we have to make reductions to those programs to the tune of about $5 million,” Broadway said.
He says other than the Governor’s Distinguished Scholarship; awards will be cut across the board.
“All those programs we have, we’ve taken everyone and given them the same percentage cut based on their percentage of the budget, so everyone’s taking the same share of the cut across the board,” Broadway said. “It’s the only fair way to do it because there’s a lot of different programs that everybody feels very strongly about.”
He says those programs include scholarships for the children of service members killed in action and students in medical programs out of state that aren’t offered in Arkansas such as dentistry.
Broadway says part of the reason for the shortfall has to do with the legislature transferring $20 million of the state’s scholarship fund to the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery due to shortfalls in that program.