Reach Higher New Mexico

Not sure where to begin? We can help!

To get started let's answer a few questions. Do any of these apply to you within the last 18 months?

  • I graduated from high school
  • I completed a high school equivalency credential
  • I was honorably discharged from the military

Yes No

It looks like you are considered 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.

Click here to learn more about scholarship options for you!
Do you plan on enrolling in a for-credit certificate, two-year, or four-year program at a public college or university in New Mexico?

Yes No

New Mexico state scholarship programs can only be used at public colleges or universities in New Mexico.

New Mexico state scholarship programs can only be used toward for-credit certificate and degree programs at one of the 29 participating public colleges and universities in the state.

Click here to view participating schools.
Do any of these apply to you?
  • I have already earned a bachelor's degree
  • I have 160 credit hours or more on my transcript from previous college attendance

Yes No

The New Mexico Lottery and Opportunity Scholarships are for students who have not yet earned a bachelor's degree and who have fewer than 160 credit hours on their transcript.

However, we encourage you to explore our loan-for-service and loan repayment plans:

It looks like you are considered a returning adult student.

The Opportunity Scholarship makes it possible for you to pursue a college degree or career training certificate, even if you are starting college for the first time later in life, or going back after many years.

Click here to learn more about scholarship options for you!

New Mexico students can now get tuition-free college

Mar 11, 2022

Source: Bankrate

New Mexico has become the latest state to offer a free college program to residents. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed the New Mexico Opportunity Scholarship Act last Friday, allocating millions of dollars in state funding to free college tuition.

Students in New Mexico who attend a qualifying in-state public university, community college or tribal college will now officially receive a tuition-free college education, marking this as the most wide-reaching free-college program in the country.

Residents enrolled at least part time can benefit

Lujan Grisham’s press release estimates that the scholarship can support up to 35,000 students this fall — half of all undergraduates in the state. Students must attend a public in-state school to qualify for the benefit, and they must meet specific criteria:

  • Prove that they have been a resident of the state for at least 12 consecutive months.
  • Be enrolled at an approved higher education institution for at least six credit hours per semester.
  • Maintain at least a 2.5 GPA.
  • Be pursuing their first career certification, associate degree or bachelor’s degree.
  • Demonstrate continuous progress toward a degree — in other words, enroll in each consecutive semester.

There is currently no application process for the scholarship; students who qualify will work with their school’s financial aid office to receive the funds.

Scholarship fund sets a ‘national example’

This new piece of legislation is the result of years of bipartisan deliberation. First proposed by Lujan Grisham in 2019, the idea of tuition-free college drew skeptics who questioned its financial feasibility — a roadblock that has also stalled President Biden’s tuition-free college proposal. However, New Mexico is not the first state to implement tuition-free college; several states have introduced successful programs, albeit on a smaller scale.

Lujan Grisham’s 2023 state budget allocates $75 million to the scholarship, with the governor claiming that the legislation will strengthen New Mexico’s economy. “Signing this legislation sends a clear message to New Mexicans that we believe in them and the contributions they will make for their families and the future of our great state,” Lujan Grisham said at the signing.

Higher Education Department Secretary Stephanie Rodriguez praised the scholarship and its inclusive nature, saying that the state has made history by setting a “national example of how states can break down barriers for students everywhere.”

Low-income students will benefit most

The Opportunity Scholarship is a first-dollar program, meaning it covers tuition and fees before students receive other financial aid. These types of programs are more likely to help low-income students cover all of their academic expenses; last-dollar programs, the alternative, serve only to fill in gaps once other financial aid has been exhausted.

Using the Opportunity Scholarship does not prevent students from receiving other aid. In fact, the program encourages students to fill out the FAFSA, since the scholarship covers only tuition. Room and board, books, technology costs and more are not covered, so students may use federal grants to supplement.

More U.S. states could consider free college programs

As the possibility of federally backed free or reduced tuition becomes less likely, students are turning their attention to state governments for widespread tuition relief. As of now, there are 33 statewide programs that offer some form of tuition-free college, with most offering last-dollar programs for free community college.

The Opportunity Scholarship is one of the most ambitious free college programs to date, and its success or failure could inform whether other states implement similar programs.