Students Win Big With Lottery Scholarships

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - Both Tennessee and Virginia use a portion of the money you pay to play to fund education. With this week's record-breaking Mega Millions jackpot, an estimated $6.3 million will help students in Tennessee.

If it weren't for a combination of summer jobs and a scholarship from the Tennessee Lottery, school just wouldn't be possible for Sadie Yinger. "I get $2,000 a semester and I use it mainly towards the dorm," she said Friday.

But Yinger isn't the only one at East Tennessee State University who benefits from the scholarship; News 5 learned almost 5,000 students this spring, are studying there with help from the Tennessee Lottery. Kathy Feagins, Director of the Scholarship Office, says that help totals more than $19 million. "All of these students, as long as they maintain their eligibility, can receive the lottery scholarship for five years or until they reach 120 attempted hours," she added.

News 5 learned that over the past 10 years tuition at ETSU has increased 117 percent and the $2,000 students get through lottery scholarships is a big help. For senior James Jackson, it helped him squeak by his first two years. "It was to where I had to work an additional three jobs but it was definitely something that was able to keep me in school from going too far in debt," he added.

Tennessee Lottery officials say since January 2004, more than $2.2 billion has been raised for education in the Volunteer State.

News 5 also learned some facts about Virginia's lottery: we checked with Bristol Virginia Public Schools and learned in 2011, the school system received $1.3 million to fund education programs. Roughly 45 cents from a one dollar ticket goes right to Virginia Public Schools. In 2011, more than $400 million went to help grades K-12 across the Commonwealth.

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