Changes possible for NM lottery scholarship

Changes possible for NM lottery scholarship
Tuesday, March 5, 2013 - 11:53pm

The future of New Mexico's lottery scholarship is a hot topic with state legislators as they work to expand the scholarship to more students while working on fixing funding issues.

Since 1996 money from lottery sales has helped more than 82,000 students in New Mexico pay for college.

"I might not have even come to school," said Daniel C De Baca, a junior at New Mexico State University.

The CMI student is one of the 4,809 students on the lottery scholarship at New Mexico State campuses.

He said the scholarship has helped him pay for school.

"The worry of debt and other things that school brings upon you definitely stresses you out," he said.

But there could be possible cuts with funds for the scholarship drying up.

"We're running out of time," said Daniel Sonntag, the head of Governmental Affairs for ASNMSU. "We have to get something done."

Sonntag said the student government has been working with legislators and keeping a close eye on both the expansion as well as possible cuts.

He said the students feel it's not the best time to expand the scholarship allowing students to take up to two years off between high school and college and still qualify for the scholarship.
The bill has already been approved by the house.

"We feel that since it's already running out of money we don't want to expand the requirements," Sonntag said.

He added the intent of the bill is good but the timing is not.

Currently the scholarship pays for 100 percent of a full-time student's tuition for eight consecutive semesters as long as the students maintains a 2.5 grade point average.

As proposed the requirements would remain the same but beginning in the Fall the scholarship would only pay up to $2400 for students at research institutions and $1400 for students at other colleges.

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