A bill to stagger lottery-awarded scholarships advanced in the House Rules committee on Wednesday.

HB 1295 by Rep. Jeremy Gillam (R-Judsonia) and Sen. Johnny Key (R-Mountain Home) would change the awards for the Academic Challenge Scholarship, which is funded by the Arkansas Lottery.

Lottery revenues have been on the decline and higher education officials have warned that without changes in the amounts of scholarships or changes to the distribution of funds, the lottery would not be able to meet its current promises.

HB 1295 would provide $2,000 for freshmen, $3,000 for sophomores, $4,000 for juniors and $5,000 for seniors regardless of whether they attend two-year or four-year programs.

Four-year college students who qualify for the lottery scholarship currently receive $4,500 a year, while two-year college students receive $2,250 a year.

Gillam’s bill would grandfather in current students and apply the new award amounts to next year’s freshman class.

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Talk Business Staff