Lottery Scholarship Concerns
A UNM student voices concerns at a recent forum regarding the future of the Legislative Lottery Scholarship. Photo credit: David Sedillo.

It works!  University of New Mexico data shows that students who receive the Legislative Lottery Scholarship (LLS) have a much higher chance of graduating than those who do not, regardless of their income level. A report, on students who started as freshman at UNM in 2007, found that of the 2,000 who received the LLS, almost two thirds of them – 62 percent graduated in six years, compared to fewer than 10 percent of New Mexico high school graduates who did not receive that tuition aid.

“Lawmakers who are struggling to try and find a way to keep the lottery scholarship afloat should know that the extra money going into tuition for New Mexico students is paying off for those who attend UNM,” President Robert G. Frank said. “It is an investment that is really worth it.”

A graph depicts the success of UNM Pell Eligible Students with the Lottery Scholarship against those who did not receive the Lottery Scholarship.

The success rate is also strong for students who may be the most marginalized. Those with the most need (Pell Grant eligible) have a 56 percent graduation rate in six years. Only 11 percent of Pell students who do not have the lottery scholarship complete a bachelor degree in six years. The tuition support also keeps student debt to a minimum for those who must borrow to fund their education.  UNM students on average acquire about $6,000 less debt than the national average.

“This scholarship makes a huge difference to our students who need it the most,” Provost Chaouki Abdallah said. “It helps students from all income levels improve their chances of graduating in six years, but we see a particularly strong jump in graduation rates for those receiving both federal aid and the lottery scholarship.”

Full tuition lottery scholarship payments are also an important means of support for non-Pell students. Those without Pell grants who earn the LLS have a 66 percent six-year graduation rate. In the 2012 academic year, 2,230 bachelor degree recipients (approx. 65 percent of the total awarded) had the lottery scholarship funding at some point in their college careers.

“The funding invested in this scholarship program returns higher graduation rates across the board and results in more college degrees in New Mexico,” Frank said. “That is a success story that our state can’t afford to lose.”