In a two-part series, Fort Smith-based The City Wire, examines how the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery is impacting college-bound students and the campuses they're attending.
Legislators and higher education officials have raised concerns about the lottery's impact on rising college expenses. In short: Is more money from lottery scholarships placing more stress on universities, that in turn raise tuition?
From The City Wire:
Sen. Jimmy Jeffress, D-Crossett, said he’s heard people’s concerns that more available money to students via the lottery scholarships has given universities more leeway to raise tuition.
“The lottery scholarship is doing nothing to increase their (universities’) costs. It may be helping because it’s providing more students to help pay their bills,” Jeffress said.
The scholarship also does nothing to lower the cost of providing higher education, he said. Jeffress acknowledged that an increase in students feeds the need for more teachers and classrooms.
When asked if the incre
ase in available student funds has given colleges administrators more leeway in increasing tuition, Dr. Donald R. Bobbitt, president of the University of Arkansas System, said it does not.
“I’ve heard no conversation where that’s been talked about in that manner,” Bobbitt said. “I’ve looked at tuition increases the last four years and looked at what’s been happening nationally and ours is quite a bit below what’s happening nationally. I don’t see the correlation.”
Read more about the lottery's impact on college campuses at this link. And in part two of the series, read more here about the funding challenges higher education is facing as well as some cost-conscious efforts being made to limit administrative expenses associated with the lottery.