New Mexico’s State Legislature is in full swing, and while that might not mean a lot to most people, it’s something that always seems to spark my interest. This past Monday, January 28, was UNM Day at the Roundhouse—which meant staff, faculty, and students made their way up to Santa Fe in hopes of convincing their representatives to pass legislation that continues to benefit the university.
So, on January 28, I headed up to Santa Fe to lobby for something near and dear to my heart—the Legislative Lottery Scholarship.
In New Mexico, the Lottery Scholarship is available to all students who graduate from a New Mexico high school; the only catch is you have to go to school in-state, maintain a 2.5 GPA and be a full-time student. Over the past five years, Lottery Scholarship has covered between 60 to 100 percent of tuition.
For me, Lottery Scholarship is the reason I’m going to UNM. My parents are both teachers and they really emphasized education. I always just assumed I was going to college, but when it came down to it, I realized the actual cost of higher education. Without the Lottery Scholarship, I would not be able to afford a higher education, and I know this is true for a majority of the people I graduated with and so many Lobos that I see on campus every day.
Because of this, I went up to Santa Fe to protect the Lottery Scholarship. Currently in the state senate, there are a few bills that will affect the Lottery Scholarship.
Senate Bill 80 is actually beneficial for the Lottery Scholarship because it outlines a program that funnels all unclaimed prize lottery money back to the Lottery Scholarship which essentially gives more money to the students.
However, Senate Bill 283 could hurt Lottery Scholarship and how much money students will actually receive. Senate Bill 283 proposes to eliminate a section of the law that requires the lottery to provide at least 30 percent of the monthly profits for college scholarships. The senators proposing the bill argue that dropping the 30 percent mandate would increase revenue, but as the bill stands now, there is no guarantee on how much funding students will actually receive.
Since the 30 percent mandate was implemented in 2008, ThinkNewMexico claims that there was a six percent increase in dollars going towards scholarships with an additional nine million dollars a year for scholarships.
Senate Bill 283 is too risky for students and does not guarantee the funding students were promised. So, let’s protect the Lottery Scholarship so we can actually focus on what’s important about higher education aka getting an education.