Indiana Mayor Proposes Casino Scholarship - Wednesday 22nd of February 2006

HAMMOND, Indiana – As reported by the Indiana Post-Tribune: "Bishop Noll Institute valedictorian Lucas Gaspar, 17, trawls the Internet two to three hours a night.

"The hunting, clicking, and form-filling for college scholarships are harried and time-consuming — but it beats loans.

"…What if Gaspar, whose parents own a home in Hammond, could set the mouse aside and count on Mayor Thomas McDermott to pay his tuition for the next four years?

"…In a scholarship concept unmatched anywhere in the region or state, McDermott is proposing using casino funds to finance college tuition for any student graduating from a Hammond school, provided they reside in the city in property owned by parents.

"McDermott believes dangling free college rides before investors and families, they'll both come to town. Or maybe even come back.

"The scope of the program could be huge. About 435 students graduated from Hammond's four public schools each year. Some benefit from programs like 21st Century Scholars which offers four years of tuition for low income students who pledge abstinence from drugs and alcohol. That Indiana program, however, has a 50 percent dropout rate.

"The mayor wants to offer the full cost of tuition equivalent to Indiana University — about $7,500: 'That's a large amount of money. I do believe it would be an incentive,; he said.

"…McDermott hopes to increase home ownership and economic growth…"

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