LC Bulletin: NMSU enrollment declines for spring

January 17, 2014. Retrieved online January 21, 2014 from Todd G. Dickson, Las Cruces Bulletin

An 8 percent drop possible

[Excerpts below reprinted with permission: Read the complete Las Cruces Bulletin article]

With classes starting up again Thursday, Jan. 16, New Mexico State University is seeing an 8-percent drop in its spring semester enrollment, despite assurances of support for students on the New Mexico Lottery Scholarship.

NMSU President Garrey Carruthers said the fund’s solvency will be a key lobbying concern of the university during the Legislature starting Tuesday, Jan. 21.

NMSU tried to head off the enrollment drop late last year by announcing it would be willing to cover up to 60 percent of Lottery Scholarship tuition if lawmakers aren’t able to shore up a deficit in the fund.

A portion of the sale of lottery tickets in the state goes into the program and revenue is stalled at about $40 million a year, while requests for the tuition assistance are around $60 million.

Carruthers said he is confident lawmakers will be able to approve funds for students currently attending the state’s universities and colleges. There are several different plans being suggested for the future of the Lottery Scholarship fund, he said, such as requiring students to take a full 15-credit hour load or to give scholarships only to students majoring in fields related to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

According to the Albuquerque Journal, Gov. Susana Martinez said Monday, Jan. 13, that there is no easy fix for the Lottery Scholarship, but she wants lawmakers to come up with a long-term solvency plan.

Currently, any New Mexican who graduates from an in-state high school with a minimum 2.5 GPA is eligible to receive the scholarship, which covers full tuition – but not fees – for eight consecutive semesters. Students who receive a New Mexico GED are also eligible.

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