COMMENTARY: Meet Jennifer Zafra. A native of Albuquerque and graduate of Sandia High School, Jennifer is a senior at the University of New Mexico studying international studies.
She has been active in the UNM World Affairs Delegation, representing the university at international conferences all over the world. She is a member of the student government’s advisory council, works at the Global Education Office, and is an active member of El Centro de La Raza. Her aspirations are to be a professor of Cuban studies, educating university students about the culture and history of her family’s Cuban heritage.
Why did she choose UNM as her launchpad? The Legislative Lottery Scholarship.
Jennifer is one of the thousands of New Mexico students who have had access to higher education because of the lottery scholarship. As university students, we are the future business leaders, scientists, physicians and public officials of our communities in New Mexico.
The lottery scholarship has continually given New Mexico students the opportunity to unleash their academic and professional potential.
But we as students are concerned that the lottery scholarship is in danger.
For years, lawmakers have continued to grapple with the funding to ensure that the lottery scholarship will continue to train the future of New Mexico. It has been clear that there is no easy solution to achieve solvency for this scholarship. This year, we are strongly supportive of the renewal of the Liquor Excise Tax, which has been a critical source of funding for the lottery scholarship that is set to expire at the end of this fiscal year.
Renewing this tax would help the lottery scholarship remain funded at its current levels while lawmakers and university officials continue to work together to craft a solution that is in the interest of the New Mexico students.
It is stories of students like Jennifer that are so important for lawmakers and taxpayers to consider when the Legislature votes on the many lottery scholarship bills that are on the table in this session. We believe the future of our state is an investment that everyone in New Mexico can get behind.
Kyle Biederwolf is president of the Associated Students of the University of New Mexico and a senior business student.