Press release from Sen. Jim Kyle; March 7, 2012:
Amendment to bill stops cuts based on revenues
NASHVILLE – Tennessee students can breathe easier Wednesday after State Senator Jim Kyle led efforts to successfully prevent cuts to 5,257 HOPE scholarships.
“Tennessee students and families are safe from having to worry about their access to higher education in our state,” Kyle said. “The jobs of the future depend on increasing our college graduates now. Tennesseans know this is no time to cut college scholarships.”
Lawmakers in a Senate committee Wednesday passed an amendment to Senate Bill 2514 that preserves HOPE scholarships if lottery proceeds maintain their current growth. The amendment comes two days after Kyle led House and Senate Democrats in calling on Governor Bill Haslam to stop proposed cuts to 5,257 HOPE scholarships.
Annual net lottery proceeds are conservatively projected to increase $15 million over the next four years, on top of reserves that could fund the current level of scholarships for decades. Tennessee Lottery officials announced yesterday that February was the lottery’s best month in the program’s history amid a record-setting year.
“Students dodged a bullet today,” Kyle said. “Instead, those students will have the same opportunities as hundreds of thousands of Tennesseans who have earned lottery scholarships.”
The bill passed through Senate Education Committee and is scheduled for a hearing in the House Education Subcommittee at noon on Wednesday.