Sen. Johnny Ray Turner, D-Prestonsburg, announced that higher education in eastern Kentucky has reaped the rewards of the Kentucky Lottery proceeds.
During the 2013 fiscal year, 3,037 grants and scholarships worth $4,801,622 were awarded to students in Senate District 29, which Turner represents. The 29th District includes Floyd, Harlan, Knott and Letcher counties.
In Harlan County, 761 grants and scholarships worth $1,149,104 were awarded to local students.
“Obtaining a post secondary degree has been made easier for hundreds of students from Harlan County because of the Kentucky Lottery,” said Turner. “I cannot think of a better use for these funds than educating our young people — many of whom may not have been able to attend college without these grants and scholarships.”
By statute, 55 percent of lottery revenue funds the need-based College Access Program (CAP) and Kentucky Tuition Grants (KTG), while the remaining 45 percent 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 in the country, according to the senator.
Other grants awarded in the 29th Senatorial District included: 1,114 grants and scholarships worth $1,759,515 in Floyd County; 634 grant and scholarships worth $1,016,195 in Knott County, and 742 grants and scholarships worth $1,199,727 in Letcher County.
These funds represent a part of the $2 billion in scholarship grants provided for students in the Commonwealth since 1999 from Kentucky Lottery proceeds.
“This money has impacted the state,” added Turner.
Prior to 1999, the Council on Postsecondary Education found the number of students attending college in Kentucky had remained flat for several years. Since the start of the Kentucky Lottery-funded scholarship and grant programs, college attendance in the Commonwealth has jumped 40 percent. At the same time, KEES data indicates more of Kentucky’s best and brightest students are staying in Kentucky to attend college.
“Not only are more students advancing their education after high school, but we are keeping more of our students – our best and our brightest at home rather than losing them to other states, where they often stay to work and raise their families,” said Turner.
The senator said an investment in education is an investment in the future of Kentucky.
“To help ensure long term economic growth in the Commonwealth, we need to invest in the education of our citizens. The young people who are graduating from colleges, universities and other post secondary schools are our future leaders. We know that education pays through higher salaries and benefits so the doors this money opens ensures better futures for our children and grandchildren,” Turner explained.
“I am proud that these funds are helping our students to realize their dreams of achieving successful educations,” he added.