ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Lottery ticket sales in the state have been dropping since 2006, and with the ever-increasing costs of college tuition, high school grads may find the legislative lottery scholarships are not there for them.
More than 75,000 students have been able to attend college because of the scholarships, but the funds are running dry.
Predictions are they'll run out of money by 2014, leaving this year's high school juniors out in the cold.
"It does weigh heavy on our minds," New Mexico Lottery spokeswoman Linda Hamlin said. "We're thinking about it all the time, and that's why we're thinking about new ways to reach players."
This month the nationwide Powerball lottery upped its ticket prices from $1 to $2. That's something New Mexico hopes will raise jackpots and drive up sales, but right now the states scholarship fund is struggling.
Hamlin explained ticket sales are expected to remain flat for the next four years. That's because the lottery is competing with casinos, the bad economy and other distractions.
"If someone's out there, and they're think about buying a lottery ticket or a candy bar, once in a while choose a lottery ticket because you're helping someone go to college," Hamlin said.
She explained New Mexicans also need to do their part to help out the state's students.
A lottery scholarship covers tuition for eight consecutive semesters at a New Mexico public college. Students must maintain a minim 2.5 grade-point average and take at least 12 credit hours each semester to qualify.
Lawmakers are looking at several ideas to stretch the funds. Those include requiring students to maintain a higher GPA and locking in tuition rates for scholarship recipients, but so far no action is expected this year.
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