NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Lottery Funds To Education

February 18, 1997

Proceeds from state lotteries often -- but not always -- go to fund educational programs. But surveys indicate that citizens are not sure how the funds are spent, whether on books, gymnasiums or other programs.

  • Proceeds totaling more than $11 billion were realized in 37 state and District of Columbia lotteries.
  • Ten states earmarked 100 percent of their lottery income for education last year.
  • Twelve states and D.C. put the money into their general funds, while the remaining 15 distributed lottery proceeds in a variety of ways.

Surveys show that voters suspect lottery funds replace -- rather than supplement -- general funding of education. So more and more states are channeling funds into specific educational programs.

Georgia uses a substantial portion of lottery income to fund a scholarship program which pays for college tuition, fees and books for any resident who maintains a B or better grade point average at state schools.

At least ten of the states which place proceeds in general funds are considering earmarking larger amounts for education.

Source: Haya El Nasser, "More Lottery Funds Headed for Education," and "Georgia Lottery's School Fund a Trendsetter," USA Today, February 18, 1997.


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