Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Is the Lottery scholarship a "right" or "privilege"?


Rep. Mike Bell, R-Riceville, said the lottery scholarship was sold to Tennesseans as a merit scholarship that would keep the brightest students from going out of state to attend college.

"It was not sold as a need-based scholarship," he said. "Right now I would be very much against making this another entitlement program or a need-based scholarship."


"These are not tax dollars. These are the dollars that men and women, who were not merit scholars, (spend when they) go to the lottery places and buy tickets," Rep. Brown said. "And we need to make those dollars accessible."

Gov. Phil Bredesen at the November budget hearing called the lottery scholarship an "elitist" program that primarily benefited students who would have been able to afford college without it.

He said this was not a firm proposal, but he could envision a two-tiered approach in which scholarships would be given to students who have an exceptionally high grade-point average, such as a 3.5 or above, but students with a 2.5 GPA could receive awards based on financial need.