By Eliana Dockterman
September 22, 2014

Updated 6:30 pm ET

John Oliver has done it again. The Last Week Tonight host summed up everything that is wrong with the annual Miss America Pageant Sunday night—from the butt glue to the 20 second responses to the question of how the U.S. should deal with ISIS.

But Oliver’s team also dug into the Miss America Pageant’s assertion that they provide $45 million in scholarship funds every year. They found that the pageant winners doesn’t come even close to actually receiving that amount for complicated reasons that Oliver explains in his piece. And yet the claim that they are still the world’s largest provider of scholarships for women in the world is, sadly, true, even though women who compete for said scholarship must certify that they have never before been married or pregnant.

On Monday afternoon, the Miss America Organization defended its program in a statement, saying it was common practice to advertise the total figure offered in scholarships rather than what ended up being spent. “We highlight the impressive, generous $45 million in scholarships made available in an effort to honor every one of our academic partners nationwide who make available cash and in-kind financial opportunities to the [Miss America Organization] and young women who participate in the program,” a spokesperson for the organization said. “Each year, more than 8,000 young women compete for scholarships…As with any scholarship, the full amount awarded may not always be used as recipients’ plans change or evolve.”

This post has been updated with the Miss America Organization’s statement.

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