SANTA FE — The New Mexico Higher Education Department (NMHED) has announced that the New Mexico Lottery Scholarship will cover the full amount of tuition for eligible students at all public and Tribal colleges and universities for the 2021-2022 school year.
The Lujan Grisham administration has restored the promise of the Lottery Scholarship; supported by increased revenue from lottery ticket sales and a significant budget appropriation, this marks the first that the Lottery Scholarship has covered 100 percent of tuition for all eligible students since 2015.
“Inability to afford the rising cost of a college education continues to be a barrier for too many students to pursuing degrees that will benefit not only themselves, but our state overall,” Higher Education Department Secretary Stephanie Rodriguez said. “With increased funding for the New Mexico Lottery and Opportunity Scholarships, we can help students invest in their future without having to worry about burdensome debt or choosing between making ends meet and their education.”
The Lottery Scholarship will be funded at $63.5 million for fiscal year 2022, over a 30 percent increase from last year’s funding of $43 million. The Lottery Scholarship paid full tuition for students between 1996 and 2015, but was reduced to cover between 60-75 percent in 2018 following the expiration of liquor excise tax revenue. In 2019, funds were distributed based upon projected lottery revenues and student enrollment at each institution.
“It has been a dream to get Lottery Scholarship funding to 100 percent, and it is exciting to see how much the State of New Mexico values higher education,” Mathew Madrid said, President of the Associated Students of New Mexico State University. “A lot of students will be relieved that paying for school is one more thing they don’t have to worry about.”
Madrid is from Vado and is entering his senior year at NMSU and will graduate with degrees in marketing and advertising. He has received the Lottery Scholarship since his freshman year and says that it greatly enhanced his college experience.
More than 20 percent of college students enrolled in New Mexico received the Lottery Scholarship during the 2019-2020 school year, the majority of whom attend four-year public research and comprehensive colleges and universities. According to a 2020 Higher Education Department report, 84 percent of students who received the Lottery Scholarship for six or more semesters attained a degree or certificate.
To qualify for the Lottery Scholarship, students must enroll at a public or Tribal college or university in New Mexico within 16 months of high school graduation, attend full time, and achieve and maintain a 2.5 GPA starting in their first semester. The Lottery Scholarship is disbursed by the college or university the student attends and eligibility is determined upon admission. Students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or equivalent application for those who are ineligible for federal aid.
The New Mexico Opportunity Scholarship also received an increase of $11 million, and will benefit students who are not eligible for the Lottery Scholarship, including returning adult learners and students who attend part-time. The majority of Lottery–ineligible students attend community colleges.
For more information about state scholarships, grants, and financial aid programs provided by the State of New Mexico, visit www.hed.state.nm.us.