Bill Asking Students to Payback Lottery Scholarships?

Bill Asking Students to Payback Lottery Scholarships?

If students drop out, they could have to pay back scholarship money.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- A State Representative is asking to amend part two of the Arkansas Lottery Scholarship.

Kim Hammer wants the scholarship to require that students who drop out of school pay back their scholarship money

Students like Brandon Hughes, who is a sophomore at the University of Arkansas Little Rock (UALR), says leaving Bryant High and entering college wasn't life altering, but it was a big change.

"It was an adjustment, but I wouldn't say it was hard,” he said.

Hughes is committed to seeing the next two years through as a Health Science Major, but without the Arkansas Lottery Scholarship, his dream wouldn't be possible.

The Lottery Scholarship makes it possible for thousands of students to attend school, but because of students dropping out, the program has lost $42 million over the last two years.

State Representative Hammer filed a bill to help the state get some of that money back, by requiring students to pay back scholarship money if they don't finish school.

"He's trying to get to retention," said Interim Higher Education Director Shane Broadway.

Broadway adds, “Some of Hammer's ideas need to be looked at from a legal standpoint.”

"Whether you can be asked to repay a scholarship or grant,” said Broadway.

The bill would cost the state more than $500,000 to add more staff and hire a collection agency.

"It's making it possible to attend college, if they have to pay that back for whatever reason, that could cause further hardships down the road for them,” added Hughes.

If the bill passes and the money is not paid back, students can look for the money to be taken off the top from their tax return.

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