Will Blacks Get a Fair Share of the Proceeds From the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery?

Recently the state of Arkansas began a new state lottery program. The purpose of the program is to provide funds for college scholarships for Arkansas residents. While scholarship amounts will depend on how much money is collected, students at four-year institutions may receive up to $6,000 annually. Students at community colleges could receive as much as $3,000 each year.

Data from other states shows that blacks and other minorities are more likely than whites to buy lottery tickets and that blacks account for a disproportionate share of all lottery ticket sales. But the scholarship awards from the new Arkansas lottery have qualifications that may have the effect of excluding blacks. One of the eligibility requirements is for students to have a score of 19 on the ACT college admission examination. But the average score for black students in Arkansas on the ACT test is 16.7. Therefore, a large majority of college-bound blacks in Arkansas will not be eligible for the lottery scholarships. In contrast, the average score for whites on the ACT test is 21. So a large majority of white students in Arkansas will be eligible for lottery scholarships.