Should church aligned private colleges accept lottery scholarships?

By Keith Boles - bio | email feedback

PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) -With the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery in it's third week and gathering steam. Many church aligned private colleges are having to deal with the issue of their students playing the lottery.

So far only 1 college has come out and forbad it's students from playing. Others, like Crowley's Ridge College in Paragould are letting their handbook policies which ask students to refrain from gambling serve for now.

Crowley's Ridge President Ken Hoppe showed me their student handbook passage.

"It would be their own moral decision and we do have a statement in our student handbook that we expect a student to refrain from gambling."

Even with the small student population at Crowley's Ridge, President Hoppe is realistic on the ability to monitor student's off-campus activities.

"Many of them go home on weekends or actually stay at home which several of our students do. Then it would be impossible for us to monitor in total that type of activity."

Just last week Harding University in Searcy which is also aligned with the Church of Christ like Crowley's Ridge announced that their (Harding) students were forbidden to play the lottery.

But now another question arises. Will these private Christian colleges accept students with lottery based scholarships?

Hoppe told me that right after the election Governor Beebe met with all the presidents of private colleges in Arkansas. Hoppe said that Beebe asked their help to make the scholarship program work.

Hoppe said that though not all the presidents were in favor of the lottery they realized that the student needs came first.

"Most would assume that the college student would need to take the financial help that was being offered from the state of Arkansas administered through the Arkansas Department of Higher Education."

I spoke with Abbey Roberts and Keith Marrs both students at CRC. Each agreed that the lottery was a form of gambling but they differed in their opinions as to whether or not the college should accept the scholarships.

Roberts, "No, personally I don't think so."

Marrs, "I think they should cause some students out there, Christian students, might not have the money to go to college and they might use that money to a Christian college or what college they want to."

And though some may call these colleges hypocritical in taking the scholarships President Hoppe said the money goes right to the student, he/she has the right to refuse or accept and use the money to get the best education they can.

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