New Mexico to launch state lottery scholarship

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First time in six years the lottery will cover full tuition.

The New Mexico Higher Education Department is set to launch the New Mexico Lottery Scholarship, which will cover full tuition for students at public universities or tribal colleges.

This is the first time in six years such a thing has occurred. The last time the lottery paid the full cost of tuition was in 2015, and had done since 1996, but this was reduced to only 60% to 75% in 2018.

In 2019, the funds were distributed based upon projected lottery revenues, and during the 2019-20 school year, more than 20% of college students received the lottery scholarship.

According to a 2020 Higher Education Department report, 84% of students who received the funds for six or more semesters had received a degree or certificate.

The administration of Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham (pictured) is able to offer such an initiative thanks to increased revenue from lottery ticket sales and a significant budget appropriation.

“Inability to afford the rising cost of a college education continues to be a barrier for too many students to pursuing degrees that will benefit not only themselves, but our state overall,” said Higher Education Department Secretary Stephanie Rodriguez.

The lottery scholarship will fund $63.5m for the fiscal year in 2022, a 30% increase from last year’s funding of $43m.

To qualify, students must be enrolled in a public or tribal college or university in New Mexico within 16 months of high school graduation.

They must also attend their college or university full time and maintain a grade point average of 2.5 in their first semester.

Meanwhile, the New Mexico Opportunity Scholarship has been given an extra $11m to support students who are not eligible for the lottery scholarship, which includes adult students or those who attend part-time.

“With increased funding for the New Mexico Lottery and Opportunity Scholarships, we can help students invest in their future without having to worry about burdensome debt or choosing between making ends meet and their education,” Rodriguez added.  

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