Lottery officials announced today that it had produced $97,582,527 in scholarship funds for the Fiscal Year ending June 30. The $97,582,527 unaudited total for scholarships compares to $82,799,809 in FY2010 and $94,229,349 in FY2011. Lottery Director Bishop Woosley, who had expressed optimism that the scholarship amount would tick upwards, said, "It's always a good day when we get news that scholarship funding is growing."
The total in lottery funding for Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarships since the first ticket sold on September 28, 2009, is $274.6 Million. Gross sales for Fiscal Year 2012 added up to $473 Million. This year's scholarship funding includes $2 Million paid by lottery vendor Scientific Games recently as part of a contract amendment negotiated by Woosley. Without that amount, the scholarship total still would have outstripped last year's figures by almost $1.4 Million.
"The people of Arkansas wanted to give our citizens a better chance of going to college and getting a degree when they voted for the lottery in 2008," ALC Chairman Ben Pickard said. "I think I speak for the entire Commission that we are delighted with the progress this year." Pickard congratulated the lottery staff "for getting through a difficult year and keeping their eye on the ball to get this done," saying, "All of us know our only mission is to maximize scholarship dollars." Pickard added, "We particularly thank our lottery retailers for their contributions to our sales and ultimately the amount of scholarship dollars available to the students of Arkansas."
The Lottery in Arkansas sold its first ticket September 29, 2009, meaning its first Fiscal Year (2010) accounted for nine months of sales. The total that year was $383,698,455, with sales of $464,019,351 last year.