Wolf is proposing state university scholarships using money from horse racing fund

Race horse organizations say it could end the sport in Pa.

  • Alexandra Stein
  • Smart Talk

Governor Tom Wolf is proposing a $204 million need-based scholarship to help thousands of middle and lower-income students attend one of the 14 state-owned universities in Pennsylvania. The so-called Nellie Bly Scholarship Program would take money from the Pennsylvania Race Horse Development Fund.

To be eligible for the new scholarship, students must be enrolled full-time in a PASSHE undergraduate program, as well as qualify for a federal subsidized student loan.  Another caveat is that students are also obligated to stay and live in Pennsylvania after graduation for the same amount of years they received the scholarship.

Appearing on Tuesday’s Smart Talk to discuss the Governor’s scholarship proposal are Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera and Deputy Secretary for Postsecondary and Higher Education Noe Ortega.

Dep. Sec. Noe Ortega and Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera appear on Smart Talk on February 25, 2020.

Smart Talk

Dep. Sec. Noe Ortega and Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera appear on Smart Talk on February 25, 2020.

However, horse racing industry leaders fear the loss of the fund will signal the death knell of horse racing in Pennsylvania, along with thousands of jobs.

According to Penn State Extension, Pennsylvania’s horse industry ranks sixth in the United States and contributes $1.7 billion and 43,114 jobs to the state’s economy. When the direct and indirect effects are considered, the horse industry provides around $3.3 billion to the state’s economy – along with over 60,000 jobs. 

Also joining us on Tuesday’s Smart Talk to discuss the new proposal’s impact on the horse industry are Todd Mostoller, Executive Director of Pennsylvania Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protection Association (PHBPA), Russell Williams, President and CEO of Hanover Shoe Farms and President of the United States Trotting Association (USTA), and Vicky Schowe, Assistant Executive Secretary of Pennsylvania’s Horse Breeders Association (PHBA) and a thoroughbred breeder.

Pennsylvania horse racing industry representatives Todd Mosteller, Russell Williams and Vicky Showe appear on Smart Talk on February 25, 2020.

Smart Talk

Pennsylvania horse racing industry representatives Todd Mosteller, Russell Williams and Vicky Showe appear on Smart Talk on February 25, 2020.

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