In his budget address Tuesday night, Gov. Matt Bevin quoted Henry Clay High School senior Eliza Jane Schaeffer, who had decried Kentucky’s budget-balancing gimmick of diverting lottery funds intended for need-based college financial aid into other uses.
The College Assistance Program and the Kentucky Tuition Grant are supposed to share in lottery proceeds but have been underfunded by an average of $28 million annually since the 2012 budget year, wrote Schaeffer, a member of the Prichard Committee Student Voice Team, in a commentary published around the state, including on this page.
The underfunding limits access to aid for 15,000 to 20,000 aspiring college students who qualify for the grants on the basis of financial need, she said.
Bevin drew applause when he vowed to fulfill the Powerball promise by committing all of the lottery proceeds to education.
Turns out the governor was playing a bit of bait and switch.
Rather than putting the lottery money into the two need-based grants, as the law mandates, Bevin instead is proposing to spend $59 million in lottery money over two years on a new workforce development scholarship to attend programs that he proposes to create.
Last year, 62,000 low-income Kentuckians were denied need-based college aid because the CAP and KTG funds ran dry. The state should keep its promise to them.