Students in New Mexico utilizing the state’s Lottery Scholarship received good news recently when the N.M. Higher Education Department announced the full amount of base tuition for eligible students at all public and tribal colleges and universities for the 2021-2022 school year will be covered 100 percent. 

Supported by increased revenue from lottery ticket sales and a significant budget appropriation, this marks the first year that the Lottery Scholarship has covered 100 percent of base tuition for all eligible students since 2015.

“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,” Higher Education Department Secretary Stephanie Rodriguez said. “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.”  

NM Lottery

“At The University of New Mexico, we are excited about the impact the increased Lottery amount will make by providing greater educational opportunities for our students. For students that have not yet submitted an application for admission—now is the time, and we welcome them to get to know us better by taking a campus tour of New Mexico’s flagship university,” said Dan García, UNM Vice President for Enrollment. “Making lasting, transformative investments in our future students will have positive impacts for generations.”

The Lottery Scholarship will be funded at $63.5 million for the fiscal year 2022, over a 30 percent increase from last year’s funding of $43 million. The Lottery Scholarship paid full base tuition for students between 1996 and 2015 but was reduced to cover between 60-75 percent in 2018 following the expiration of liquor excise tax revenue. In 2019, funds were distributed based upon projected lottery revenues and student enrollment at each institution.  

At UNM's main campus, the Lottery Scholarship will now pay 100 percent of base tuition, up to $3,444 each semester, toward tuition costs based on eligibility. By comparison, last year the rate was 67 percent of base tuition.

More than 20 percent of college students enrolled in New Mexico received the Lottery Scholarship during the 2019-2020 school year, the majority of whom attend four-year public research and comprehensive colleges and universities. According to a 2020 Higher Education Department report, 84 percent of students who received the Lottery Scholarship for six or more semesters attained a degree or certificate. 

“The Lottery Scholarship covering the full amount of base tuition means that students will not have to rely on other financial aid programs to cover those costs,” said UNM Director of Financial Aid Brian Malone. “They can use these other funds, which are not always tied to tuition expenses, to pay for housing, books, supplies and other fees.”

To qualify for the Lottery Scholarship, students must enroll at a public or tribal college or university in New Mexico within 16 months of high school graduation, attend full time, and achieve and maintain a 2.5 GPA starting in their first semester. The Lottery Scholarship is disbursed by the college or university the student attends and eligibility is determined upon admission. 

The New Mexico Opportunity Scholarship also received an increase of $11 million and will benefit students who are not eligible for the Lottery Scholarship, including returning adult learners and students who attend part-time. The majority of Lottery-ineligible students attend community colleges. 

For more information about state scholarships, grants, and financial aid programs provided by UNM, visit the UNM Financial Aid Office.

For scholarships and grants provided by the State of New Mexico, visit N.M. Higher Education Department