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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Parent Association weighs with survey

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@ArdeeTheJourno

About two-thirds of UNM students’ parents advocate raising the Legislative Lottery Scholarship’s GPA requirement to ensure its solvency.

According to a survey conducted last June by the University’s Parent Association, 64 percent of the 468 respondents are in favor of increasing the scholarship’s minimum GPA requirement from a 2.5. On the contrary, 36 percent want the requirement to stay the same.

Parents Association President Angie Gonzales-Carver said the survey was sent to the association’s online listserv, which was composed mostly of UNM parents. She said the survey ran for two weeks.

Gonzales-Carver said the association did the survey to guide legislator’s decision-making processes.

“We felt that it was going to be a hot topic coming into the Legislature. We want to have some kind of information to take with us when we go visit legislators and talk about what’s going on with the Lottery Scholarship,” Gonzales-Carver said.

Gonzales-Carver said that according to comments submitted by parents to the association, there is push for raising the requirement to at least a 2.75.

Although the results do not reflect the association’s official stance on the scholarship’s solvency issue, Gonzales-Carver said she personally sides with the majority.

“If a child really wants to go to school, or if a student really wants that education, they’re willing to work for it,” she said.

The parents’ advocated solution might disadvantage minority students who receive the scholarship, Gonzales-Carver said. But she said that at the moment, there seems no way around it.

“When you have to pay for room and board, and you have to come to school, and you’re working one or two jobs, it’s tough,” she said. “I wish I had a magic wand to help every child, every student to become a better student.”

According to the survey, 35 percent of respondents blame scholarship’s insolvency on the excessive student demand, while 31 percent say it is the increasing tuition’s fault. About 24 percent say it was because of mismanagement of the scholarship and 9 percent say the insolvency is because of low lottery sales.

Bernadette Jaramillo-Peck, administrative officer of the Parent Association, said that instead of placing blame on anything, legislators should focus more on finding a solution as quickly as possible.

“There’s many, many solutions, and I’m sure everyone knows that,” she said. “Which one is the best solution? We don’t know. But majority of the parents’ comments is that there has to be a solution of some kind.”

She said she demands that legislators issue a solution by this semester. The results will be forwarded to legislators along with parents’ comments gathered from the survey.

“Our number one concern is that we support students in their college career,” she said. “And, whatever it is that we need to do as parents to help them to succeed, that’s what we’ll do.”

To solve the insolvency issue in the long run, she said legislators should focus on improving elementary, middle and high schools in the state. She said they should especially focus on helping minority students in the Albuquerque Public Schools, who are “not getting the teaching that they should be… We need to help them get there.”

Gonzales-Carver said legislators should rush to solve this problem.

“There has to be some kind of solution now,” she said. “Kids are coming to school. They’re registered for class. They don’t know if they have a scholarship or not. So, it has to be done.”