New Mexico changes system for state lottery scholarships

ALBUQUERQUE – New Mexico is providing more certainty for college students about the amount of financial aid they can count on from state lottery revenues, but elected officials and others say more needs to be done to shore up the scholarship program as higher education costs climb.Gov. Susana Martinez signed legislation Wednesday that decouples the value of lottery scholarships from the cost of tuition by setting a fixed amount for the awards based on the kind of institution a student attends.Tuition and demand for financial aid have outpaced lottery revenues for nearly a decade, forcing lawmakers and university administrators to get creative about helping students fill the gap. When it began in 1996, the scholarship covered 100 percent of average tuition rates. This year, only 60 percent is covered.More: Bills to modify lottery scholarship advanceThe lottery-funded scholarships help pay tuition for about 26,000 students.The two-term Republican governor warned that the measure approved by the Legislature during the recent session is just one step toward addressing the deeper issues facing the scholarship program.

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