Senate Approves Tuition Freeze For Lottery Scholarship

New Mexico – The Senate has approved a measure to shore up a college scholarship program financed by New Mexico's lottery.

The bill by Senate Republican Leader Stuart Ingle of Portales will freeze tuition for students at the rate when they first qualify for a scholarship.

Supporters say the legislation will slow cost increases in the program from rising tuition.

The Higher Education Department says about 19,700 students, or 26 percent of full-time undergraduates attending New Mexico's two-year and four-year colleges, are receiving a lottery scholarship.

The scholarship fund is projected to run out of money as early as 2014 if nothing is done in the Legislature this session and tuition rates continue to sharply increase.

The legislation unanimously passed the Senate on Tuesday and goes to the House for consideration.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.