The Kentucky Lottery announced on Monday that more than $2 billion has been provided by the lottery to fund college scholarships and grants some 14-years after the program began.Kentucky Lottery dividends started being transferred away from the General Fund on a gradual basis in Fiscal Year 1999.
Through Fiscal Year 2013, more than $2.05 billion has gone to fund need-based and merit-based grants and scholarships, along with a reserve fund for the programs.
This has provided more than 1.5 million financial awards to Kentucky high school students. The awards are distributed by the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA).
By statute, 55% of Lottery revenue funds the need-based College Access Program (CAP) and Kentucky Tuition Grants (KTG), while the remaining 45% goes to the Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship (KEES) program.
This type of balance between need-based and merit-based scholarships is unlike any other program offered in the country.
"The real winners of the Kentucky Lottery are the students who receive financial aid for college,” said Dr. Carl Rollins, KHEAA’s executive director and CEO. “The KEES, CAP and KTG programs have made college more affordable for thousands of Kentucky students who may not have otherwise been able to afford higher education. We are very grateful for everything the lottery contributes."
In fact, 95 cents of every non-loan student aid dollar awarded by the Commonwealth comes straight from the sales of lottery tickets. And the results are tangible – according to KHEAA, data from the KEES program indicates more of Kentucky's best and brightest students are staying in Kentucky to attend college.
"Kentucky Lottery-funded scholarship programs provide students across the Commonwealth a great opportunity to earn an education from one of Kentucky'soutstanding universities,” said Governor Steve Beshear. “The programs help make a college education more affordable and accessible to our next generation of leaders, providing our state with a better opportunity to keep them right here in the Bluegrass after they graduate."
All unclaimed Kentucky Lottery prize money goes into the KEES Reserve Fund to help maintain the financial stability of the program.
Around $9 million annually is projected to go into this fund, and it has received more than $100 million since this practice started in FY03.
The first $3 million in Kentucky Lottery proceeds each year go to the University of Kentucky’s “Read To Achieve” program and the Collaborative Center for Literacy Development, with a total of $42 million going to these programs since FY00.
“Even though we take great pride in announcing this landmark, our work – and the demand for student aid dollars – continues to increase in importance every year,” said KLC President and CEO Arch Gleason. “We know Kentucky’s young people are counting on us, and we’re up to the challenge.”