UNM GPA Calculation Steals Lottery Scholarship From Transfer Students


The University of New Mexico’s transfer policy unfairly computes student GPA’s and denies deserving transfer students the Lottery Scholarship. Although UNM’s policy for transfer GPA’s is in compliance with federal regulations, it is unfair and damaging to some of the most needy students.

The New Mexico Lottery Scholarship requires that students maintain an overall 2.5 GPA to qualify for the upcoming semesters. UNM calculates a traditional students GPA by dividing the students quality points by credit hours earned at UNM. A transfer student’s GPA is calculated in the same manner, but it only includes classes attempted at UNM. All of the classes completed at other institutions and accepted by UNM are counted towards total credit hours for graduation, but they are not used in the GPA calculation.

That may not seem like a big deal, but it was for one student that we know. There are many more like her, but this is her story. She is a first generation Mexican-American whose family is very low-income. She grew up and graduated from a town that has a 50% drop-out rate. She was in the top 10% of her class, but did not do very well on the ACT. She applied to UNM, but the University said that her ACT score was low and that she was not accepted. Crushed, she applied to CNM and began school in the Fall after graduation.

She worked hard and completed the 24 credit hours at CNM that UNM requires for transfer. She had a 3.2 GPA at CNM. She applied to UNM and was accepted. She started this Fall and took 15 credit hours. Unfortunately she finished the semester with a 2.48 GPA at UNM. It is her first full semester at UNM, but the University considers her a sophomore. Despite her status, UNM only counted the 15 hours that she took at UNM and disqualified her from the Lottery Scholarship. She went to the Financial Aid office and they told her that her only alternative is to take out student loans.

Most transfer students come from low-income situations and tend to be first generation college students. Starting at UNM can be challenging the first semester. UNM should take a student’s individual circumstances into account when determining eligibility. They should count the students transfer credits in the GPA calculation for the Lottery Scholarship. They could calculate the students University GPA separately. This new calculation system would allow transfer students a little leeway when getting adjusted to the pace at UNM. It is a simple fix. These students obviously want to get an education or they would not have taken the path that they did. They should not be treated the same as first semester freshman students.

Sometimes we need to address the unfairness of bureaucratic systems. The Lottery Scholarship is designed to help students who need it the most. Yet those same students are the ones who are hurt the most by the system. Transfer students need to be treated the same as other students who have the same amount of academic credit. It is understandable that classes completed at other institutions should not be included in UNM’s overall GPA, but it seems only fair that they should be counted in a GPA for Lottery Scholarship GPA.

UNM Offers Single Mom Scholarship- Apply before January 31, 2014!

smsEvery Wednesday the Daily Loco will post opportunities in the community that may not be well known to the public. We ask that you forward these to people who may be in need. If we work as a group, we can change the world.

This week we are featuring The UNM Women’s Resource Center’s Sabrina Single Mothers Scholarship (http://women.unm.edu/what-we-offer/sabrina-single-mothers-scholarship-.html):

The Sabrina Single Mother’s Scholarship is awarded every Spring semester. Applications for the scholarship are available during Fall semester The deadline to apply is January 31, 2014 by 4:00pm. The students selected will receive an award which will be credited to the students’ account during the Spring semester.  A letter of notification will be sent to the student, or students, chosen

Selection Criteria:

  • Available to graduate and undergraduate Single Mothers attending UNM
  • Must be registered for 6 or more credit hours per semester during the academic year
  • Must have cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher
  • Must display financial need
  • Must be sole financial supporter of the family
  • Must submit the following:
    • Unofficial UNM transcript
    • Completed two-page application form
    • Short Essay responding to questions
    • Copy of current tax return or FAFSA application, last 2 pay stubs (if working), and copy of Financial Aid Award
    • 1 Letter of Recommendation – not to exceed one page (Letter will be accepted from an Employment or Volunteer Supervisor, Academic Advisor or Professor)

SFCC Illegally Denies GED Recipients the Lottery Scholarship

Sometimes individuals decide that they want to have a better life. That is why they decide to take their GED. They may have had circumstances which made graduating high school impossible, but that doesn’t mean that they are failures. Many New Mexico residents have completed their GED’s in the last few month’s in an attempt to start college. They realize that the economy is tough and a college degree can open doors of opportunity that are currently closed to them. Unfortunately, Santa Fe Community College unlawfully denies them the New Mexico Legislative Lottery Scholarship that they are entitled to. SFCC stomps on their dreams before they get a chance to start.

Last week, one such recipient received her official scores. She broke down crying tears of joy. She had dropped out of high school almost 10 years ago to help take care of her younger sisters and assist her parents with the bills. She is now a mother of 2 children who works at Wal-Mart for slightly above minimum wage. She is a first generation Mexican-American who wants to fulfill hers parents dreams and provide an example for her children to follow. She is planning on attending Santa Fe Community College, but SFCC seems to not want her there.

This student is a very low income individual and cannot afford to attend SFCC without the Lottery Scholarship. She was under the impression that GED recipients who enroll in College the first semester after GED completion are eligible for the Lottery Scholarship. She is correct in that assumption. The New Mexico Legislature authorizes GED recipients to receive the Lottery Scholarship under those circumstances. It does not matter how many years an individual is out of school, they are entitled to the Lottery Scholarship.

SFCC does not see it that way and told her so. They said that she only gets the Lottery Scholarship if she attended college the first semester after high school graduation. SFCC told her that she was misinformed and out of luck. She was devastated and felt like her dream was over.

The Daily Loco calls upon Senator Linda Lopez and other Legislators to address this issue immediately. The next semester of College is fast approaching and these GED recipients may skip college due to bad advice. They need help now. Show us that you are all politicians for the people. The Lottery Scholarship may be in danger of going broke, but that is not their fault. It is your fault. As the Daily Loco has stated before, there is plenty of money available for the Lottery Scholarship. We, as New Mexican’s, just need to get our priorities straight. Let’s give a voice to the voiceless.

Please voice your concerns to Senator Linda Lopez: @lopez4gov

Senator Howie Morales: @morales4nm