As the spring semester gets underway at the University of New Mexico, the State Legislature is reviewing the parameters of the Legislative Lottery Scholarship. Students in higher education across New Mexico are keenly interested in the impending changes that could affect funding for their education.
The Associated Students of the University of New Mexico (ASUNM) has been working with lawmakers and student government representatives from other New Mexico institutions to better understand the impact and the realities of the proposed changes. Currently, ASUNM is working with lawmakers to support the Lottery Fund Solvency Act, which calls for an increase in qualifying GPA to 2.75 from 2.5 with a minimum course requirement of 15 hours.
This bill also would reduce the number of semesters a student could receive the scholarship from the current eight to seven at research universities such as UNM, New Mexico State University and New Mexico Tech, and down from four to three semesters at two year institutions.
The student-backed measure would also require students to apply for the Lottery Scholarship instead of automatically receiving it if they graduate from a New Mexico high school.
“Ultimately this bill brings solvency, which is one of the primary values that we are seeking,” ASUNM President Isaac Romero said.
Along with the bill supported by ASUNM, the Legislative Finance Committee has also developed a plan to shore up the scholarship. The LFC’s plan raises the GPA to 2.75 with a minimum 15-hour per semester requirement for all types of universities.
However, funding levels would vary depending on the type of institution. Students who attend research universities, including UNM, would receive $2,100 per semester. Those choosing a comprehensive or four-year university would be awarded $1,000 per semester. Students going to a community college or two-year institution would get $800 per semester or an amount that is capped at tuition cost.
The LFC proposal includes a grandfather clause for students who have already taken four semesters at their current universities allowing them to maintain the current award, which equals tuition.
“ASUNM is committed to presenting students’ opinions on this essential issue and to staying up to date on the changes in the proposals as they make their way through the legislative process,” Romero said.