By Rob Nikolewski | Capitol Report New Mexico
SANTA FE — The numbers haven’t been adding up for the state lottery in recent years and that means unless the Legislature can come up with a fix, students who qualify for lottery scholarships to New Mexico universities and colleges will see across-the-board cuts.
“We’ll have to cut the size of awards for each student,” José Z. Garcia, secretary of the Higher Education Department told members of the Legislative Finance Committee on Wednesday. “That’s what’s in statute for us to do.”
The scholarship program is facing a $5-million shortfall as the state lottery is taking in less money in recent years due to the stagnant economy. At the same time, tuition rates at New Mexico institutions are rising. Since its inception in 1996, more than 82,600 students from across the state have been awarded lottery scholarships.
The scholarship program will continue, but unless Roundhouse lawmakers come up with a solution, Garcia said the amount given to students will be reduced by an estimated 35 percent.
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