The Lottery Scholarship
A Scholarship for Recent High School Graduates
The Lottery Scholarship, New Mexico’s first tuition-free college program, covers 100% of tuition for recent New Mexico high school graduates.
How does it work?
The Lottery Scholarship is awarded to eligible New Mexico residents who attend a public college or university in the state who attend full time and maintain a 2.5 GPA.
You may be asking yourself, "How do I know if I'm eligible and where do I begin?". Those are great questions! Let us answer them from you.
You are eligible if you meet the following requirements:
- Enroll full time at a New Mexico public college or university the semester following graduation or completion of a certificate.
- You maintain a 2.5 GPA while enrolled in a college or university.
That's it! If you meet the requirements and enroll you'll receive the Lottery Scholarship.
You may be saying "Great, I meet the requirements and have enrolled. What's next?"
Be sure to maintain all eligibility requirements and the Opportunity Scholoarship will cover:
- Up to seven (7) semesters of your tuition.
The Opportunity Scholarship will cover a potential Lottery Scholarship recipient's first qualifying semester if they don't qualify for bridge scholarships and course-specific fees.
You may be asking "Ok, but what happens if I can't maintain a full time (12 credit hours) schedule?"
If there are circumstances that prevent you from enrolling as a full time student, a 16 month grace* period kicks in and you can:
- Enroll part time (at least 6 credit hours) and receive the Opportunity Scholarship at a New Mexico public college or university.
Once the 16 month grace period ends, you must:
- Enroll full time (at least 12 credit hours) at a New Mexico public college or university.
- Complete seven semesters receiving the Lottery Scholarship.
- Enroll full time and receive the Opportunity Scholarship up to a bachelor's degree.
* Grace period exemptions include: employment, religious mission, and other exemptions.
The New Mexico Higher Education Department is here to help you! Please contact us directly if you have questions or need help. You can also contact our Financial Aid Division at 1-800-279-9777 or email us at email@example.com
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Let’s dive in and learn more about the Lottery Scholarship!
How do I know if I am considered a recent high school graduate?
You are considered a recent graduate learner for state scholarships if:
- You graduated from a New Mexico high school within the past 16 months, or
- You received a high school equivalency credential while maintaining residency in New Mexico.
- You received a home school registration certificate from the New Mexico Public Education Department.
You have not yet earned your first bachelor’s degree.
How do I qualify for the Lottery Scholarship?
To qualify for the Lottery Scholarship, you will need to:
- Enroll full time at a New Mexico public college or university within 16 months of high school graduation, or completion of a high school equivalency or home school certificate. Full time means:
- 15 credit hours at a four-year university
- 12 credit hours at a community college
- Achieve and maintain a 2.5 grade point average (GPA).
- Maintain full-time enrollment every fall and spring semesters.
Please note that students with disabilities may qualify for reduced credit hour requirements and additional semesters of the scholarship.
What does the Lottery Scholarship pay for?
The Lottery Scholarship pays for 100% of tuition. Students receiving the Lottery Scholarship for tuition can receive supplemental assistance from the Opportunity Scholarship for course-specific fees.
When does the Lottery Scholarship kick in?
As a recent high school graduate, you will establish eligibility for the Lottery Scholarship during your first semester of full-time enrollment. This is called the qualifying semester or “bridge” semester.
Students who are establishing eligibility for the Lottery Scholarship in their first semester may be eligible to have their first semester tuition paid for through bridge scholarships provided by their college or university, through the Opportunity Scholarship, or a combination of these. Talk to your financial aid advisor about how you can work together to cover the first semester.
How long can I receive the Lottery Scholarship?
Students pursuing a bachelor’s degree at a four-year college or university who continue to meet eligibility requirements can receive the scholarship up to seven semesters or when they complete their first bachelor’s degree, whichever comes first.
Students attending a community college can receive the Lottery Scholarship for up to three semesters.
How do I apply for the Lottery Scholarship?
Public colleges and universities in New Mexico automatically award the Lottery Scholarship to students who are eligible when they enroll and register for classes, so there is no separate scholarship application to fill out. However, you should let your financial aid advisor know that you plan to establish eligibility for the Lottery Scholarship during your first semester so they can help you stay on track.
If I am a student with disabilities, is it possible to enroll in and earn less than six credit hours during the fall and spring semesters and maintain eligibility?
You may be eligible to receive the scholarship with a reduced credit hour requirement if you document your disability with the Student Services Office at your college or university. You will need to provide proof to the financial aid office at least 30 days before the semester starts.
Am I required to enroll during the summer semester to stay eligible for the scholarship?
No, summer enrollment is optional.
If I am an adult student that has recently completed my high school equivalency credential, will I be eligible for the Lottery Scholarship?
If you enroll in college within sixteen months of completing your high school equivalency credential, you can be eligible for the Lottery Scholarship.
If I need to completely withdraw from my courses, can I receive the Lottery scholarship in the future?
If you experience an event or situation that causes you to withdraw from your courses or drop below the number of required credit hours, you should contact the financial aid office at your college or university right away. Your school may be able to grant you a leave of absence up to one year without losing eligibility for the Lottery Scholarship.