PTC Students Travel to State House for Lottery Assistance

ltarally111A group of students and staff from Piedmont Technical College joined nearly 300 SC Technical College System students at the State House Tuesday to show their support for the Lottery Tuition Assistance (LTA) program. Speakers included Dr. Darrel W. Staat, System president; Sen. John Courson, R-Richland, chairman, Senate Education Committee; Rep. Phil Owens, R-Pickens, chair, Education and Public Works Committee; and Leon Rogers, an LTA recipient and student at Florence-Darlington Technical College.

More than 300 LTA recipients from the System’s 16 technical colleges marched to the State House, wearing shirts proclaiming “Thank you for LTA.” One-third of all technical college students in South Carolina receive LTA funds. Nearly 40,000 students statewide receive Lottery Tuition Assistance, which amounts to about $900 per semester for those enrolled full time. Over 70 percent of the students attending Piedmont Tech receive LTA.

“This is something we fought for five or six years ago to get in the budget in the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee and we are going to keep that money in the appropriations bill,” said Courson.

“The group assembled here today demonstrates how important Lottery Tuition Assistance is to the students of the South Carolina Technical College System and, ultimately, to our state,” said Staat in addressing the crowd of students. “Since 2002, over 285,000 students have benefitted from LTA.”

“A couple of years ago, we reclassified LTA as Life Time Achievement,” said Owens. “I think that speaks well of what the Lottery Assistance program allows. The technical college graduates form the backbone of our state’s trained work force and all of our technical colleges serve a great need in South Carolina.”

Piedmont Tech students were excited by the positive response from the legislators.

“I have to fund my own education. Piedmont Technical College was a great opportunity because I didn’t have to do it on my own. A four-year college didn’t seem attainable for me,” said Marlana Alvarez, a business student from Chappells.

The Lottery Tuition Assistance program was created by the General Assembly in 2002 for public two-year institutions. Unlike merit-based lottery-funded aid, award amounts are not guaranteed from semester to semester, and fluctuate based on lottery collections and student demand.

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Photo Caption: Students and staff from Piedmont Technical College joined hundreds of SC Technical College System students gathered at the State House Tuesday to show their support for the Lottery Tuition Assistance (LTA) program. Attending the rally were, front, Annelle Bosket, Saluda. Second, Vernessia Wideman, Greenwood; Jennifer Adams, Greenwood, Melissa Laughlin, Greenwood; Karen Tisdale, Greenwood; Marlana Alvarez, Chappells; and Thomas Griffin, Saluda. Back, Rep. David Tribble; Sen. Danny Verdin; Rep. Mark Willis; Brandon Davis, Greenwood; Dr. Ray Brooks, PTC president; Sen. Floyd Nicholson; William Whitfield, PTC Area Commission chairman; and Rep. Michael Pitts.