Nebraska Senators Address College Affordability through Lottery Funds Bill

SENATOR LYNNE WALZ District 15 State Capitol PO Box 94604 Lincoln, Nebraska 68509-4604 (402) 471-2625 lwalz@leg.ne.gov PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 16, 2021 Contact: Nicole Barrett Research Analyst (402) 471-0755 nbarrett@leg.ne.gov


Nebraska Senators Address College Affordability through Lottery Funds Bill


LB529 Allocates $100 million of Lottery Funds across K-12 and Higher Education, and In Addition Prevents the Sunset of the Nebraska Opportunity Grant (NOG) Program


LINCOLN, Nebraska - Today the Education Committee of the Legislature advanced LB529 to General File with AM495, which serves as a replacement for the bill. LB529 allocates the lottery dollars for the next five years beginning July 1, 2021. Receiving 44.5% of lottery proceeds after prizes, expenses, and an initial transfer to the Compulsive Gamblers Fund, the funds for education are estimated to total $100 million over the next five years. The majority of the funds, 58%, are allocated to the Nebraska Opportunity Grant (NOG).


NOG is Nebraska's only need-based financial aid program for postsecondary students. In addition to lottery funds, it receives an annual General Fund appropriation. In 2020-21, that appropriation was $7,593,430. Nearly 13,000 students per year receive a NOG award as part of their financial aid package. Unfortunately, the entire NOG program is statutorily set to sunset on June 30, 2021. LB529 eliminates the sunset & makes NOG permanent! "I look forward to working with the Legislature to promptly send LB529 to the Governor's desk and assure Nebraska families that this important financial aid will be available for students again this fall," said Chairwoman Lynne Walz.


In addition to the funding, and permanent extension, of the NOG program, LB529 offers funding for several other programs to make college more affordable for Nebraskans, as well as financial support for numerous other very important K-12 purposes. "The Education Committee has worked hard for two years studying how best to utilize the lottery dollars dedicated for education, and I'm pleased to report that LB529 has something in it for everyone!" said Chairwoman Walz.


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