The Arkansas General Assembly will take up the issue of how to continue the state's promised Arkansas Challenge Scholarships with dwindling lottery funds. No doubt that must be done, but we hope legislators are not sold on the plan that's on the table.
That plan entails a $2,000 scholarship to freshmen, with a $1,000 increase in aid each year a student remains in school and qualifies for the scholarship.
Yes, this plan will use up fewer of the limited lottery dollars. Two, it could prove an incentive for students to remain in school.
Yet the original intent of providing the scholarship was to encourage more Arkansas high school graduates to go to college, and, wow, did it work! Enrollments leaped across the state.
We fear that $2,000 is not enough of a dent in tuition/board/fees to allow a student and his/her family to pay for that first year of college.
If you can't get them there, keeping them there is a moot point.
We encourage the legislature to accomplish its cost-cutting like this: start with a higher scholarship amount for freshmen and increase that amount by smaller increments for each subsequent year in school.
After all, we need all the college-educated Arkansans we can produce.