New Mexico Lottery Scholarships
As you may know, the state of New Mexico awards higher-education scholarships that are funded by proceeds from the NM lottery. The scholarships are awarded at 25 state colleges and universities. Historically, tribal colleges have been the only public higher-ed institutions in the state that are excluded from this program. You have an opportunity to assist in changing that. Right now there are bills in the Senate and the House, SB 407 and HB 363, that have progressed through the committee process and are scheduled for floor votes this week or next. We are excited because similar bills that were introduced in the past have never made it this far in the legislative process.
Lottery Fund Scholarship Program availability would make it possible for eligible Native students to have more choices in selecting their educational path, including IAIA. In many cases, this means students could stay much closer to home and study disciplines from a uniquely Native perspective. By assisting our best and brightest Native students with these funds, they are afforded access to very unique, nationally-recognized programs, in their own communities.
Tribal College students cite financial challenges as their primary reason for not being able to continue their college education. Having access to these funds would have a significant impact on students being able to continue their education and receive their degrees.
With the impending floor votes for these two bills, we hope to rally students, tribal, and community members to be present in the Roundhouse galleries to demonstrate their support. We don’t have the specific times, yet, but these could be up for voting in the next several days. As soon as the date and time for the floor votes are announced, we will share that information with you.
If at all possible, please plan to make time in your schedule over the next few days to be available to visit the Roundhouse and show your support for these bills—and our present and future IAIA students. Ask your family, friends, and neighbors to join you and show their support also.
This is one of the most important issues to come before the legislature—one that would greatly impact the future of IAIA and our community.
Wado (Thank you),
Dr. Robert Martin (Cherokee)