Lottery to cover tuition for now
The Legislative Lottery Success Scholarship will continue to cover all tuition costs for University of New Mexico students who meet the updated scholarship requirements of 15 credit hours for the fall 2014 semester, according to the New Mexico Higher Education Department.
A lack of funding has caused changes to the scholarship in order to make the system more sustainable.
The changes are the product of a senate bill passed earlier this year by the state Legislature that determined scholarship amounts based on available funds.
Under the new law, scholarship amounts are determined by dividing colleges and universities into three categories: research universities, comprehensive four-year colleges and two-year institutions. The average tuition for each group is calculated separately and determines the maximum award amount.
The average tuition this fall at the state’s three research universities — UNM, New Mexico State and New Mexico Tech — is $2,519, according to the NMHED. This average will cover UNM’s tuition this fall.
Under the new law, students at research and comprehensive universities are required to take at least 15 credit hours per semester to qualify for the scholarship — an increase of three credit hours from past standards.
Rachel Williams, president of the Associated Students of the University of New Mexico, said the news provides students on the scholarship peace of mind going forward.
“It is incredibly encouraging that the NMHED determined that the (scholarship) will fully cover tuition for the 2014 to 2015 school year,” Williams said. “Although there is still hesitancy and frustration with the new requirements, it should be a relief for students to know that they won’t need to scrape together extra funds to cover any remaining amounts for tuition in this upcoming year.”
Glenn Walters, deputy secretary of the NMHED, said there are still too many new factors to consider when determining whether UNM lottery students can count on full tuition coverage come spring 2015.
“We believe, with the money that is in there and the revenue that is coming in, that we will be able to cover 100 percent of the sector average for students that are eligible,” walters said. “The spring semester, we believe, will be very close to that, but there are a lot of variables.”
Mychal Miltenberger is a freelance reporter for the Daily Lobo. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.