SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – There are a lot of kids making the switch from public school to home school. Now a state lawmaker wants to give those students an easier shot at the New Mexico Lottery scholarship. Senator Cliff Pirtle says right now, homeschooled students can get the Lottery Scholarship, but he says there are too many obstacles for them to be eligible.
“As we’re seeing with the shutdowns and the governor’s closing of the schools, there’s a higher number of kids being homeschooled. So an even more important issue than when I brought it up two years ago,” said Sen. Cliff Pirtle (R – Roswell).
Right now, homeschooled students can qualify for the Lottery Scholarship in two ways the first is to transfer to a public school before graduation or take the GED exam. In his bill, Senator Pirtle proposes that students shouldn’t have to take the GED exam in order to be eligible for the scholarship money. “The added step of the GED is not necessary and with the lottery scholarship, you have to maintain a 2.5 GPA or higher your first semester to continue to get it. So I think the backstops are there to protect the fund and we should include as many homeschooled kids as we can,” said Sen. Pirtle.
The New Mexico Public Education Department says the total number of home school students in the state climbed from roughly 8,600 to 15,000 this year compared to last. The bill is scheduled to be debated in the Senate Education Committee. The state says it worries that removing the eligibility requirement could impact the student’s preparedness for college-level classes.