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Current Status of the New Mexico Legislative Lottery Scholarship


The only lottery bill that passed and is on its way to the the Governor is SB 347, Lottery Tuition Scholarship Fund Solvency, with an amendment passed in the House.

At this time, New Mexico State University will guarantee 60% of tuition from the NM Lottery Scholarship to eligible student accounts for the spring 2014 semester. These funds will be reflected in your registration document and on your account as soon as possible.

After policy decisions have been made at the state level and the spring NM Lottery Scholarship funding is finalized, eligible student accounts will be credited with any additional approved Lottery funds. Special accommodations have been made to waive payment plan fees until disbursement date. Students affected by changes in the NM Lottery Scholarship will receive a letter about these changes by mid-November.

Since the NM Lottery Scholarship was first awarded in 1996, over 82,000 students have attended New Mexico public higher education institutions, and more than 38,000 students are NM Lottery Scholarship graduates. Since 1996, approximately $582 million in lottery profits have been used to fund the scholarship.

Starting Spring 2014, the funds will have exhausted past profits and will only have incoming revenue to commit to the scholarship fund.

Due to the demand the NM Lottery Scholarship, the NM Higher Education Department, the State Legislature, and other policy makers are re-evaluating the amount of the scholarship for the future. Although it is possible the scholarship will not cover the entire cost of tuition as the Spring 2014 semester begins, it could pay a portion of the tuition.

We anticipate the shortfall of the scholarship will be handled in one of two ways:

1. The NM Higher Education Department has the authority to change the amount of the scholarship. They can set the scholarship to cover a portion of tuition, based on expected demand and revenue from the New Mexico Lottery. The statute outling this authority can be viewed here.

2. Policy makers can modify the scholarship during the 2014 Legislative session. During the 2013 session, proposals for changes to the scholarship were debated but not passed. Proposed changes included rewarding high performance on part of the students, reducing eligibility from eight semesters to seven, and reducing the amount of tuition paid.

Since the Legislature will not convene until January, we do not expect a solution until mid-March.