A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Sen. Dorsey Ridley announces more than $3.7 million in Ky Lottery proceeds for District 4 higher education

Senator Dorsey Ridley, D-Henderson, announced this week that higher education in Western Kentucky once again reaped the rewards of the Kentucky Lottery proceeds.

During the 2017 fiscal year, there were 2,271 scholarships worth $3,561,533 awarded to students in Senate District 4, which Senator Ridley represents. The 4th District includes Caldwell, Crittenden, Henderson, Livingston, Union and Webster counties.

Dorsey Ridley

“Obtaining a postsecondary degree has been made easier for hundreds of students from District 4 and western Kentucky because of the Kentucky Lottery,” said Senator Ridley, who also serves as part of the Senate Democratic Leadership team as Caucus Chair. “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.

Grants awarded in the 4th District included:

• 311 grants and scholarships worth $506,536 in Caldwell County
• 168 grants and scholarships worth $249,408 in Crittenden County
• 1,013 grants and scholarships worth $1,586,651 in Henderson County
• 180 grants and scholarships worth $279,821 in Livingston County
• 319 grants and scholarships worth $510,864 in Union County
• 287 grants and scholarships worth $428,261 in Webster County

Colleges, universities and vocational schools in the area also have felt the effect of this money. Henderson Community College saw 616 grants and scholarships valued at $762,368 used on its campus.

All together, these funds represent a part of the $2.4 billion in scholarship grants provided for students in the Commonwealth since 1999 from Kentucky Lottery proceeds. Across the Commonwealth, 675,562 students or one in every five Kentuckians have received a lottery-funded college scholarship or grant since 1999.

“This money has made a positive impact in our district and around the state,” Senator Ridley noted. “It has made a college education more affordable for thousands of Kentuckians who otherwise would not have been able to afford a college degree.”

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 Senator Ridley.

The senator from Henderson 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 postsecondary 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,” Senator Ridley explained. “I am proud that these funds are helping our students to realize their dreams of achieving successful educations.”

Senator Ridley said that 95 cents of every non-loan, student aid dollar awarded by the commonwealth comes from the sale of lottery tickets.

From Legislative Research Commission

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