Funding for lottery scholarships lags by nearly $8M

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico lottery officials say transfers to the state’s lottery scholarship program through April are lagging by nearly $8 million compared to the same time last year.

They’re also projecting a return of about $37.5 million to the scholarship fund this fiscal year. That’s about $9 million less than the previous year.

New Mexico has struggled in recent years to find a solution to solvency problems with the program, which provides scholarships for tens of thousands of students through lottery revenues.

Higher education officials have warned that the amount of the scholarships could be reduced.

Lottery Chairman Dan Salzwedel blames artificial barriers for keeping the lottery from maximizing sales. He pointed to an existing requirement that a certain percentage of lottery sales be funneled to the scholarship program rather than be used to bolster sales through higher payouts.