Funding for lottery scholarships lags by nearly $8M – New Mexico News

Funding for lottery scholarships lags by nearly $8M – New Mexico News

The Associated Press

Published 11:37 a.m. MT May 18, 2017 | Updated 20 hours ago

ALBUQUERQUE – As New Mexico’s higher education officials near a deadline for deciding whether to roll back scholarship assistance for tens of thousands of college students, lottery officials said Thursday they’re transferring less money into the fund that supports the program.

Transfers of lottery proceeds through April are lagging by nearly $8 million compared to the same time last year. Projections show the overall return to the scholarship fund by the end of this fiscal year is expected to fall short of last year’s levels by about $9 million.

New Mexico has struggled in recent years to find a solution to solvency problems with the program. Legislators during their regular session did not pass any measures that would affect the program’s long-term bottom line, leaving higher education officials to sort out how to stretch the funding.

Some have warned that the scholarships might only pay 70 percent of tuition starting next fall.

State officials are still crunching the numbers and the Higher Education Department said Thursday it will make a decision by June 1.

Tuition and demand for the financial aid have outpaced revenues from lottery sales since 2009, forcing lawmakers to be creative.

When ticket sales did not…

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