Tuition-free college for New Mexicans
With the New Mexico Opportunity and Lottery Scholarships, there are options for New Mexicans to pursue college and career training without worrying about the cost of tuition and fees.
Ready to get started?
I am a recent high school graduate...
The Lottery Scholarship, New Mexico’s first tuition-free college program, covers 100% of tuition for recent New Mexico high school graduates.
I am a returning student...
The Opportunity Scholarship covers 100% of tuition and course-specific fees at New Mexico public colleges and universities.
I'm not sure...
Whether you are a recent high school graduate or going back to school later on, there are options to help pay for your education.
How it Works
Accessing the Opportunity Scholarship or Lottery Scholarship, is as easy as 1-2-3:
Step 1: Apply to College
Apply to a participating New Mexico public college or university. Click here for a complete list and to apply!
Step 2: Complete Your FAFSA
Step 3: Enroll in classes
Enroll in the participating college of your choice and sign up for classes. Click here to get in touch with your school.
What is tuition-free college?
With the Opportunity and Lottery Scholarships, there are options for New Mexico residents of all ages to pursue college and career training tuition-free.
Overview of Tuition-Free College
Full Tuition & Fees are Covered
Scholarship funds will cover the full tuition and course-specific fees at New Mexico public colleges and universities.
Part-Time & Full-Time Students
Depending on the scholarship program, students must enroll part time or full time.
Career Training Certificates, Associate Degrees, Bachelor's Degrees
Scholarships support students pursuing for-credit career training certificates, associate degrees, and bachelor’s degrees.
Available to Eligible New Mexico Residents
Scholarships are available if you are an established New Mexico resident*.
*Per residency standards set by the New Mexico Higher Education Department.
Enroll in a public college or university in New Mexico toward a for-credit training certificate, associate degree, or bachelor’s degree.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Tuition-free college promotes access to higher education programs, limits or eliminates student loan debt, and promotes economic prosperity. Here is some helpful information on tuition-free college in New Mexico.
How do I apply for the Opportunity Scholarship?
Public colleges and universities in New Mexico automatically award the Opportunity Scholarship to students who are eligible when they enroll and register for classes, so there is no separate scholarship application to fill out. However, you should let your financial aid advisor know that you plan to take advantage of the Opportunity Scholarship so they can help you stay on track.
Do I Qualify for the New Mexico Opportunity Scholarship?
To qualify for the New Mexico Opportunity Scholarship, you will need to:
- Enroll part time or full time at a New Mexico public college or university. The minimum credit hour requirement is six hours and the maximum is 18 hours.
- Achieve and maintain a 2.5 grade point average (GPA).
- Enroll in at least six credit hours every fall and spring semester.
- Please note that students with disabilities may qualify for reduced credit hour requirements and additional semesters of the scholarship.
Do I qualify for the New Mexico Lottery Scholarship?
To qualify for the Lottery Scholarship, you will need to:
- Enroll full time at a New Mexico public college or university within 16 months of high school graduation, or completion of a high school equivalency or home school certificate. Full time means:
- 15 credit hours at a four-year university
- 12 credit hours at a community college
- Achieve and maintain a 2.5 grade point average (GPA).
- Maintain full-time enrollment every fall and spring semesters.
Please note that students with disabilities may qualify for reduced credit hour requirements and additional semesters of the scholarship.
What does the Opportunity Scholarship pay for?
The Opportunity Scholarship pays for 100% of tuition and course-specific fees up to $50 per credit hour.
What does the Lottery Scholarship pay for?
The Lottery Scholarship pays for 100% of tuition. Students receiving the Lottery Scholarship for tuition can receive supplemental assistance from the Opportunity Scholarship for course-specific fees
I am a Lottery Scholarship student starting my first semester. Can I receive the Opportunity Scholarship while establishing Lottery eligibility?
Students who are establishing eligibility for the Lottery Scholarship in their first semester may be eligible to have their first semester tuition paid for through bridge scholarships provided by their college or university, through the Opportunity Scholarship, or a combination of these. Talk to your financial aid advisor about how you can work together to cover the first semester.
Should I still complete my FAFSA if I am receiving the Opportunity Scholarship or Lottery Scholarship?
Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is not required to receive state scholarships. However, we strongly encourage you to complete it to access federal aid such as Pell Grants that can be used for college costs beyond tuition and fees, including books, housing, and transportation.
What if I am not eligible to complete a FAFSA?
Eligibility for state financial aid programs and eligibility for federal financial aid programs are considered separately. You do not need to complete a FAFSA or be eligible for federal financial aid in order to qualify for state Lottery and Opportunity Scholarship programs.
I am a member of a federally-recognized Tribe with presence in New Mexico, but I live out of state. Can I receive the Lottery or Opportunity Scholarship?
Out-of-state members of an American Indian Nation, Tribe or Pueblo, located wholly or partially in New Mexico, can qualify regardless of the state they live in. You school may ask for an official letter from your Nation, Tribe or Pueblo documenting your membership.
Which colleges and universities can I apply to and receive the Opportunity Scholarship or the Lottery Scholarship?
There are 29 participating public colleges and universities in New Mexico where you can use the Lottery and Opportunity Scholarships:
- Central New Mexico Community College
- Clovis Community College
- Diné College
- Doña Ana Community College (NMSU)
- Eastern New Mexico University – Portales
- Eastern New Mexico University – Ruidoso
- Eastern New Mexico University – Roswell
- Institute of American Indian Arts
- Luna Community College
- Mesalands Community College
- Navajo Technical University
- New Mexico Highlands University
- New Mexico Junior College
- New Mexico Military Institute
- New Mexico State University – Las Cruces
- New Mexico State University – Alamogordo
- New Mexico State University – Grants
- New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology
- Northern New Mexico College
- San Juan College
- Santa Fe Community College
- Southwest Indian Polytechnic Institute
- Southeast New Mexico College (formerly NMSU – Carlsbad)
- The University of New Mexico – Albuquerque
- The University of New Mexico – Los Alamos
- The University of New Mexico- Taos
- The University of New Mexico – Gallup
- The University of New Mexico – Valencia
- Western New Mexico University
I started college but did not finish. Can I use the Opportunity Scholarship to go back and finish my degree?
If you have not yet completed your first bachelor’s degree and you don’t have more than 160 attempted credit hours on your transcript from previous college attendance, you can use the Opportunity Scholarship to complete your degree.
I used to receive the Lottery Scholarship but lost it. Could I be eligible for the Opportunity Scholarship?
If you lose or suspect you are about to lose eligibility for the Lottery Scholarship for an exceptional circumstance, you should contact your financial aid officer right away to let them know about your situation. You may be able to submit a petition to reestablish eligibility if your school approves you to do so. Otherwise, you will need to wait two years from the time you lost eligibility for the Lottery Scholarship to be eligible for the Opportunity Scholarship.