SANTA FE ― Lottery Scholarship Grace Period legislation, SB 420, sponsored by Sen. Bill Soules of Las Cruces, March 15 was passed by the full New Mexico House of Representatives with strong bipartisan support.
The bill allows students to take up to 16 months off before beginning college, and still qualify for the state Lottery Scholarship assistance. The measure was the top priority for NMSU students. It was passed earlier in the session by the Senate, and now goes to the Governor for signature.
“I am pleased that legislators passed this bill that is so important to the academic success of so many young people in our state. Many students may not be ready mentally and academically to start college right after graduating high school, and we should not push them into school. Implementing this gap provision will help many students reach their full potential, and go on to successful careers,” Sen. Soules said.
Current law requires that graduates must immediately enroll in college following high school graduation, or they lose the scholarship assistance permanently. SB 420 would extend the period to 16 months to allow for a ‘gap year’ between high school graduation or completion of the GED and entering college. It also extends the scholarship to students who enlist in the military and begin service within 4 months of graduation.