published Thursday, September 1st, 2011

Tighten Tennessee lottery scholarship rules

Lawmakers in Nashville are considering some long-overdue restrictions on the granting of lottery-funded scholarships in Tennessee.

They really don't have much choice, because on the current trajectory, lottery funds are expected to be depleted to the state-mandated minimum within 13 years, according to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. Something has to be done to keep the program funded, and the state can't just rely on more people playing the lottery to make up the shortfall.

So, legislators are looking at a plan to stop giving lottery scholarships to high school graduates whose only qualification is that they scored a 21 or higher on the ACT college entrance exam.

At present, students can get a $4,000 scholarship for four-year schools in the state by scoring a 21 on the ACT or by earning a 3.0 grade-point average in high school. But 80 percent of students who get lottery scholarships based on their ACT scores alone do not maintain the grades required in college to keep the scholarships, losing them after their freshman year. That diverts scholarship money from students whose academic records show they are more likely to succeed in college.

Tightening the rules could save the state $24 million per year -- which is plainly necessary to maintain the lottery program's viability over the long term and to stop wasting scholarship money.

Funding higher education with lottery proceeds is a bad idea, in our view, because it promotes the vice of gambling. But if lottery funds are to be used for education in Tennessee, it is reasonable to insist that those dollars be spent effectively.

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328Kwebsite said...

This program has brought $21 Million in educational funding to colleges in Hamilton County.

$17 Million to UTC. I take it that you don't want to pay $17 Million more in taxes, do you, Republicans?

This program has also paid out over $1 Million to Chattanooga State. Not going to pay $1 Million in taxes, are you, Republicans?

This program also provided over $1 Million to Southern Adventist University.

Bradley County has received $4 Million: $1 Million for Cleveland State, $3 Million for Lee University.

Franklin County: over $1 Million on the University of the South.

Notice that private religious schools are also cashing in.

Overall, $26 Million have been spent on education in the Times-Free Press' readership area, thanks to this program. That's $26 Million that Republicans would never have spent on education, period.

Of course, we should not advocate gambling. That's why we're not betting on Republicans to be responsible enough to pay their taxes. After all, their view of educational guidance is "Slaves learned to read."

Just buy another lottery ticket. We know you will not pay your taxes unless there are worse than lightning-strike odds on paying out a bonanza to your wallets.

September 1, 2011 at 5:17 a.m.
EaTn said...

Another factor that needs to be considered besides maintaining a certain college grade level is their type enrollment program. We shouldn't be paying for someone to graduate in a degree with limited job or salary opportunities.

September 1, 2011 at 6 a.m.
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