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NMSU informs students and parents about possible lottery scholarship change

  • By Tiffany Acosta
  • 575-646-3929
  • tfrank@nmsu.edu
  • Nov 14, 2013
Student walking on campus

The New Mexico Legislative Lottery Scholarship, which has paid tuition for qualified students for up to eight semesters, could be facing changes in the spring of 2014, and New Mexico State University officials are notifying students and parents.

"We are waiting for guidance from the Higher Education Department on this scholarship for the upcoming semester," said Bernadette Montoya, NMSU's Vice President for Students Affairs and Enrollment Management. "Students are registering for classes without clear direction on how much tuition their scholarship will cover. We anticipate that the lottery scholarship will continue to be a valuable asset for New Mexican students seeking an education, even if it will not pay the entire tuition bill."

The state scholarship was established in 1996, and due to the high demand, the New Mexico Higher Education Department and other policy makers are assessing the amount of the scholarship for the future. A specific date for a resolution is unknown, but the legislative session begins Jan. 21.

NMSU students affected by this will be receiving a letter about the scholarship that informs what they can expect for next semester.

In the entire NMSU system, almost 4,200 students are on the lottery scholarship, which includes nearly 3,600 students on the Las Cruces campus. Although many students on the scholarship have other aid, it is the only assistance some students receive.

To reduce student financial concerns while the Higher Education Department formulates a response, NMSU will guarantee 60 percent of the tuition payment from the lottery scholarship. If additional funds are approved for this scholarship, student accounts will be credited at that time. NMSU is waiving payment plan fees for students on the scholarship until HED announces how much will be funded. Any unfunded portion of tuition will be the responsibility of the student.

"NMSU students have been steadfast in their efforts to resolve this situation, and we support them fully," Montoya said. "It is our hope that the Legislature would dedicate additional funds to this program so New Mexico students would have a path to access higher education with support from the state."

The current requirements for the lottery scholarship are that a student must be a New Mexico resident who recently earned a GED or a diploma from a New Mexico high school and is seeking a bachelor's or associate's degree, completes at least 12 new graded credit hours by the end of the first semester (the qualifying semester) and earn a minimum grade point average of 2.5 in the first semester. The lottery scholarship is automatically awarded to qualified students beginning the second semester of their freshman year.

Students keep the scholarship if they earned a minimum of 12 hours per semester and maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5.

For more information on the lottery scholarship, visit http://fa.nmsu.edu/lottery/.