Legislation to reduce the scholarship amount paid to students from the Arkansas Lottery is now going to the Governor for a signature.
The bill would set scholarships in tiers. Freshmen would receive $2,000, which would increase by $1,000 each year until senior year, topping out at $5,000.
The program currently pays $4,500 per year to four-year college students.
Two-year college students would be eligible for $2,000 per year, down from $2,250.
Senator Johnny Key, a Republican from Mountain Home, is the bill’s sponsor. Speaking from the Senate floor Key said changes to scholarship amounts have to happen to keep the program going.
“A year ago we left the scholarship amounts at $4,500, but we made clear to everyone that a year from now – which is now, a year from then – we would have to make considerable changes to that scholarship program in order to keep it solvent,” he said.
Shane Broadway, Interim Director of the Department of Higher Education, agrees changes will likely need to happen to scholarship amounts.
“Our biggest issue is ensuring the financial viability of the program, so changes were going to have to be made … they said that a year ago and it’s even more so now because of the situation we’re in,” Broadway said.
The bill passed 31 to 2.