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Since leaving office, lottery revenue has only exceeded projections Hodges originally cited from the nonpartisan Board of Economic Advisers, which estimated that the lottery would generate $90 million in its first year and $150 million in subsequent years.
The pitch to voters
State Sen. Larry Martin, who opposed starting a lottery when it was put to voters, says the promise of full tuition for tech schools was a pipe dream from the beginning.
More than three fourths of that money $2.6 billion has gone to scholarships and other higher education purposes, according to the lottery.
The gap between lottery scholarships and tuition has widened to the point where Greenville Tech students are paying more out of their pockets than before the South Carolina Education Lottery began selling tickets in 2002.
million in 2005 06. In 2012 13, the lottery generated $288.2 million, according to the State Budget and Control Board.
and nearly $500 million for kindergarten. The remaining 2 percent goes to other educational programs, including county libraries, ETV and upgrades to programs at tech colleges aimed at addressing South Carolina's skilled health care work force shortage.
Students shouldering staggering debt loads and those who simply can't afford the price tag to get the education they need to compete in the work force are left wondering how this is possible at a time when lottery revenues have continued to exceed original expectations.
Whatever the reason, tuition and fees at technical colleges in South Carolina are above the national average and among the highest in the Southeast, according to figures from the College Board and the Southern Regional Education Board.
"I think what happened is that once the lottery was approved, the college system looked at how much the students were going to get so they raised tuition up to actually negate the lottery money," said 41 year old Greenville resident Sharrye Dantzler.
Among his selling points: "Proceeds from an education lottery will fund free tuition for students who are enrolled in a diploma, degree or certificate program at any technical college or two year college in South Carolina."
Tech school officials blame the rising tuition on falling state support. Legislators point to the post 9/11 recession followed by the economic crash of 2008 for declines in higher education funding.
Since then, tuition and fees at the school have risen another 53 percent to $1,872.
Martin, a Pickens Republican and member of the Senate Education Committee, says the calculations were unrealistic.
In fact, they're digging deeper into their pockets and going further into debt than ever before in order to get the technical degrees and training required to land the skilled jobs area employers need filled.
That brings the total raised to date to more than $3 billion; with another more than $300 million coming from interest earned and unclaimed prizes, according to the Budget and Control Board.
"That was certainly my vision and that's where we left it when I left office," he said.
Becky Mann, Tech's director of public relations, said state budget cuts, which legislators blame on the post 9/11 recession, account for the near doubling of tuition at Greenville Tech between 2000 and 2003.
In an op ed piece published in February 2000, then All White Leather Converse High Tops Womens Democratic Gov. Jim Hodges made a pitch for voters to approve an education lottery that November.
Dantzler said she gave up on her hope of taking photography courses because lottery assistance wasn't available for her.
Timothy Madden of Greenville, chairman of the South Carolina Education Lottery Board of Commissioners, said the commission has no say in how the money is divvied out.
Lottery advocates said the games not only would make tech schools free for full time degree or certificate seeking students, but it also would expand existing scholarships to four year institutions, fund endowments for top grade professorships and upgrade technology in all state schools.
"The role of the lottery commission is to maximize the amount of money which we can deliver over to the state and then let the General Assembly decide how to appropriate that money," he said. "I think it's gone incredibly well from the generation of money standpoint."
Another 21 percent goes to K 12 schools, including $95 million for buses Converse High Cut Men
More than a decade after voters approved a South Carolina lottery pitched as a way to fund free tuition to technical schools and two year colleges, students still aren't getting a free ride.
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Greenville Tech students once had to come up with $349 each semester after lottery tuition assistance. Now, full time students who live in Greenville County have to come up with $847 per semester if they get the full lottery funded tuition credit of $1,140, according to the college's figures.
"Our goal was to get as close to 100 percent as we could for the two year institutions and the idea behind that is we felt like K 14 education should be guaranteed for people in South Carolina, because people are minimally going to need an associate's degree to be able to succeed and have a middle class lifestyle," Hodges told The News.
"I'm just really disappointed in the fact that the lottery was specifically advertised as a way to help college students, a way to fund education, and within three years they had negated any benefit at all to the lottery," Dantzler told The Greenville News. "I just don't see the point now."
Tuition at Greenville Technical College cost $661 a semester in 2000 when voters approved the constitutional change needed to establish a state run lottery. By the time the lottery was up and running, tuition had jumped to $1,225 in 2003, according to school figures.
Hodges, now a lawyer and business consultant, points out that at the time he left office in January 2003, lottery tuition assistance covered about 70 percent of average tuition at the state's two year colleges a figure he describes as "darn good."
from a reality as tech students lose on lottery aid
After falling just short of the mark its first year, when it raised $80.4 million, revenues jumped the second year to $213.3 million and hit $300 Converse New Arrival
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