Students at NMSU struggling to pay tuition after cuts to Lottery Scholarship


Many students at New Mexico State University say they’re struggling to cover tuition after a recent change to the state's Lottery Scholarship.

KFOX14 has spoken with several students who say they’re barely making ends meet after a 6 percent tuition increase and cuts to the scholarship.

One student told me his family moved here from the Philippines for education but may have to go back.

Other students say they’re also struggling financially after the state cut the Lottery scholarship by 30 percent.

In recent years. the Lottery Scholarship covered 90 percent of tuition for recipients but now covers 60 percent, a $700 decrease.

NMSU junior Belanna Utnage said she has had to pick up odd jobs like pulling weeds on weekends to help pay for school.

“Without Lottery I actually wouldn’t have gone to college because I couldn’t afford it,” Utnage said.

She said she’s already had to take out a total of four students loans to help cover the cost of room and board along with books.

“I wish they had either raised tuition or cut the lottery; but not both at once because it’s just too much for people to handle,” Utnage said.

But she isn’t the only student who relies heavily on the Lottery Scholarship.

Joash Inoferio has an h4 visa status, which means as a student, he cannot work or apply for any government assistance.

“It was particularly hard for my family because I’m an immigrant from the Philippines," Inoferio said. “Everything I have to pay has to come from the Lottery or out of pocket.”

Inoferio said he relies on his mother, who has a working visa, to cover tuition.

But he adds that he has a sister who also attends college at NMSU.

“We actually considered going back to the Philippines if we want to pursue a college education. The only problem there is trying to get back here in the United States is hard as well,” Inoferio said.

Other students at NMSU, like Christian Iglesias, say this may also have an impact on the university.

“The fact that it goes from 90 percent to 60 percent, that's a really drastic drop, so I think the university should be anticipating enrollment drop,” Iglesias said.

According to NMSU officials, the university hasn’t seen a drop in student enrollment.

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