Tennessee Lottery Fund Has Run Out of Money

Tennessee’s 2010 graduating class may be surprised to find out that the Tennessee State Lottery Fund may be out of money by the time they graduate. This could mean fewer scholarships awarded, thus, fewer high school graduates attending college. Do we really want to see fewer students attending college? Higher education should be seen as a priority in Tennessee and an investment in Tennessee’s economy.Data show that Tennessee ranks dead last nationally in the number of ninth grade students that continue their education and earn their degree. Fewer college graduates result in lower wages for Tennessee workers. Because of this lower wage base, Tennessee loses about $400 million of lost revenue. More funds need to be in place to send more high school graduates to college.

What has happened to the lottery scholarship? The state’s lottery fund is projected to have deficits of $20 million a year for years to come. This means that scholarship awards could be lessened or at least not increase for the years to come. Either way, parents and students may not be able to rely on the states lottery scholarship to assist in covering tuition costs.

Since 2004, lawmakers have found creative ways to spend lottery money and have committed millions to fund other programs. Included are medical grants for students who will agree to work in rural areas, the purchase of lap-tops for high school students who are dual enrolled and money for K-12 schools to purchase more energy efficient fixtures and equipment. Governor …