Cuts in Lottery Scholarships Challenge Arkansas Colleges

by Luke Jones  on Monday, Jun. 3, 2013 12:00 am  

“If a student does qualify for the lottery scholarship at UCA, we are offering a one-time $750,” said Jeff Pitchford, UCA’s vice president for university and government relations.

UCA’s tuition rose 3.59 percent. Undergraduates living on campus pay $245.28 per credit hour. The $750 is available only for fall 2013, Pitchford said, and won’t be renewed for the following year. But the scholarship’s significant decrease was enough to spur UCA’s administration into action, he said.

“And the parents, you know, would need to make that adjustment for the short amount of time before this fall,” he said.

Depending on the school’s enrollment, the supplement could cost UCA between $1 million to $1.2 million.

“The funds for this would come out of our existing scholarship budget and is not new money,” Pitchford said, adding that the recent tuition increase wasn’t connected to the supplement.

Similarly, the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville is offering a one-time $1,000 scholarship to students who have already accepted the Challenge scholarship. In May, UA and the rest of the schools in the University of Arkansas System raised tuition 3.5 percent for undergraduates. UA’s tuition is $211.77 per credit hour for resident undergraduates.

Suzanne McCray, vice provost for enrollment services and dean of admissions at UA, said the college has tried to reach out with “as much scholarship money as it can,” but there’s no school in the state that can completely fill that gap.

She also said the money isn’t coming from the higher tuition — UA had some saved-up funds in its scholarship reserve. The total cost for UA won’t be known until enrollment numbers come in.

“We think it’s very hard, of course, for students who are hoping to have that funding when they’re coming to college,” McCray said. “They’re having to rethink some things and plan differently. I think it was a very hard hit for freshmen in particular because of the way it’s stacked.”

Freshmen who accepted the Challenge scholarship and who have a high school GPA of at least 3.25 and an ACT score of 24 or better qualify for the supplemental scholarship, McCray said.

“But if they already have other funding, we’re not supplementing that,” McCray added.

Some other schools that have announced plans to supplement the scholarship include Central Baptist and Hendrix colleges in Conway, Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia, the University of the Ozarks in Clarksville and Williams Baptist College in Walnut Ridge.



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