LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (News release) – The Arkansas Scholarship Lottery celebrated its 10-year anniversary over the weekend.
On September 28, 2009, the first Lottery ticket was sold in Arkansas for the purpose of funding higher education scholarships for students in the state. Since that time, the Lottery has raised more than $889 million in scholarship funding.
“As I reflect on a decade of Lottery ticket sales in Arkansas, I can’t help but see the faces of students I’ve met that have benefitted from the availability of these scholarship funds,” said Bishop Woosley, director of the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery. “It is incredible to know that more than 542,000 college scholarships have been awarded since 2009.”
There are many students who attribute the Lottery scholarship to their academic achievements.
Jalease Lofton is a scholarship recipient and STEM major at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith. Receiving the Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship helps Jalease pay for books and tuition, while keeping her motivated.
“One day I’m going to be a statistics teacher,” said Jalease. “I want to be a role model for other women around the world.”
Arkansas voters approved a ballot measure to establish the Lottery in November 2008. The Academic Challenge Scholarship provides tuition assistance to students at every state university and two-year college, both public and private. Applicants include new high school graduates, students already enrolled in college and non-traditional students who wish to further their education. The scholarship can also be combined with other financial aid programs.
In 10 years of operation, $2.9 billion has been awarded in prizes to players. Additionally, retailer commissions are approximately $257 million, and state and federal tax revenue has exceeded $128 million.
“We are proud of the fact that 92 cents of every dollar of Lottery revenue goes to scholarships, prizes and retailer commissions,” said Woosley. “And, we know that our work is worthwhile when we hear stories like that of Jalease Lofton.”
The numbers continue to grow annually. Fiscal year 2019 set records in scholarship proceeds – $98.4 million – and sales of more than $516,236,823, which is $16 million higher than the previous fiscal year.
“We owe a great deal of thanks to Arkansans who have embraced the mission of the Lottery and support it by playing responsibly,” said Woosley. “Our winners include those who won $50 on a scratch-off ticket to those who won life-changing million-dollar jackpots. We’re proud to have winners in different ways.”