Hammond Students Could Get Scholarships from Casino Money

March 6, 2006

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The mayor of Hammond wants to spend millions of dollars in casino revenue on college scholarships for students whose parents live in the city.

Students who graduate with a 3.0 grade point average or score 1,000 on the SAT would be entitled to a scholarship under the plan announced today by Mayor Tom McDermott.

The scholarship money, up to $7,500 per year, can be used to pay for tuition at any public or private college in Indiana.

And the scholarship can be granted for up to four years, so long as the student maintains good grades.

The mayor hopes the program does more than provide kids with a college education.

""Eleven percent of Hammond's population 25 years and older right now has a college degree, which is less than half of the national average,"" he says. ""So what we are looking to do is boost the number, first off. Second, you know, we're looking to entice people to move to the city and keep people here.""

McDermott says the proposal is modeled after a program in Kalamazoo, Mich.

He says the city could award $2.5 million in scholarships every year.

That represents about 10 percent of the $25 million the city receives in revenue through Horseshoe Casino. Those students graduating from a Hammond high school in June will be eligible under the program if it's approved by the City Council.

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