New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan signed a bill on Friday waiving tuition for students at public and tribal colleges in the state.
Starting this fall, the New Mexico Opportunity Scholarship Act — “the most wide-reaching tuition-free scholarship program in the United States” — will support up to 35,000 students, over half of New Mexico’s undergraduate population.
With an initial appropriation of $75 million, the Opportunity Scholarship Act covers full tuition and fees for undergraduate students at two-or four-year public institutions, the Las Cruces Sun News reported.
“For over a quarter of a century, New Mexico has been a national leader in providing free college to its residents. A fully funded Opportunity Scholarship opens the door for every New Mexican to reach higher, strengthening our economy, our families and our communities,” Gov. Grisham said while signing the bill into law.
🖋️ SIGNED: the New Mexico Opportunity Scholarship Act, expanding tuition-free college to more New Mexicans than ever before!
A fully funded Opportunity Scholarship opens the door for every New Mexican to reach higher, strengthening our economy, our families and our communities. pic.twitter.com/Pvq03NpqYk
— Michelle Lujan Grisham (@GovMLG) March 4, 2022
To qualify, students must enroll for at least six credit hours at a public college and maintain a 2.5 grade point average. Students can use the scholarship to cover training certificates, associate’s degrees, bachelor’s programs, and summer courses.
Interested students can contact the financial aid office at their college or university to apply for the scholarship. They can pair it with federal aid such as Pell Grants or other scholarship offers to cover rent, books, transportation, and other college expenses.
As the only state-funded scholarship program in the country to include both high school graduates and adult students, the Scholarship Opportunity Act has benefited over 10,000 students since The Grisham administration introduced it in 2019.
“I am an adult learner who actually graduated from college by taking six credits per semester, so this bill is personally important to me.” Rep. Joy Garratt, one of the two sponsors of the bill, said. “I am proud to have sponsored this legislation, and I know it will change the lives of thousands of New Mexicans.”