Legislators Eye Cutting Lottery Scholarships In Half for Some

From a Rick Locker report:
State policymakers examined a plan today that would cut in half the $4,000 per year Hope Scholarship at four-year colleges and universities for some students. Impacted would be those who achieve only one of the two eligibility criteria — either a 21 on the ACT college entrance exam or a 3.0 high school grade-point average — but not both.
The proposal was presented to the state Senate Lottery Stabilization Task Force today as another option for closing an $18 million-a-year deficit in what the scholarship program now costs and what the Tennessee Lottery generates for the program. But the task force won’t make its recommendation until next month, and nothing will be final until the state legislature approves the changes during its 2012 session.
Currently in Tennessee, high school graduates who make either 21 on the ACT or have a 3.0 high school GPA qualify for the base $4,000 per year Hope Scholarship at four-year institutions in Tennessee and $2,000 at two-year schools. The policy option presented to the task force this afternoon would require students to achieve both standards to qualify for the full base $4,000 scholarship at four-year schools.
Students who achieve only one of the two standards would receive only $2,000 per year at either four- or two-year schools, but they could start earning the $4,000 grant starting with their third year of college provided they have met the current retention standards for the program during their first two years of college.
That change, officials said, would “incentivize” students who don’t achieve both standards to attend their first two years at a community college where data indicates they will have a better chance of academic success — and then transfer to a four-year school to pursue baccalaureate degrees. When fully implemented, it would save the lottery program about $17 million a year.
But the sentiment was not unanimous. David Gregory, an administrator with the Tennessee Board of Regents, said data indicates the change would “disproportionately affect African-American” students and low-income students.
Note: The full CA story is HERE.

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