The Opportunity Scholarship
A Scholarship for Returning Students
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. Whether you enroll part time or full time, the Opportunity Scholarship can help you achieve your educational and career goals.
How does it work?
The Opportunity Scholarship covers tuition and course-specific fees for eligible New Mexico residents who attend any public college or university in the state part time or full time.
You may be asking yourself, "How do I know if I'm eligible and where do I begin?". Those are great questions! Let us answer them from you.
You are eligible if you meet the following requirements:
- You are a New Mexico resident.
- You enroll in a New Mexico public college or university.
- You enroll in at least six credit hours but not more than 18 credit hours. Courses must be credit bearing.
- You maintain a 2.5 GPA while enrolled in a college or university.
That's it! If you meet the requirements and enroll you'll receive the Opportunity Scholarship.
You may be saying "Great, I meet the requirements and have enrolled. What's next?"
Be sure to maintain all eligibility requirements and the Opportunity Scholoarship will cover:
- up to 90 attempted credit hours for an associate degree and
- 160 attempted hours for a bachelor's degree.
That's it! If you do that and you're eligible, you'll receive the Opportunity Scholarship.
You may be asking "Ok, I've done that, but what happens if I fail to meet one of the eligibility requirements?"
If you fail to meet one of the eligibility requirements, you may petition for a probationary semester to requalify for the Opportunity Scholarship.
- If the petition is approved, you will be granted a probationary semester while still receiving the Opportunity Scholarship. However, the you must ensure that you are maintaining the eligibility requirements.
- If the petition is denied, you may petition for reinstatement of the Opportunity Scholarship no sooner than two years following the end of the semester when eligibility was lost.
The New Mexico Higher Education Department is here to help you! Please contact us directly if you have questions or need help. You can also contact our Financial Aid Division at 1-800-279-9777 or email us at email@example.com
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
This section is designed to answer some of the most common questions about the New Mexico Lottery Scholarship. So, let’s dive in and learn more about this important scholarship opportunity!
How do I know if I am considered a returning student?
You are considered a returning student for state scholarships if:
- You are a New Mexico resident.
- You are 18 years old or older.
- You are enrolling in college more than 16 months after graduating from high school, attaining a high school equivalency credential, or receiving a home school certificate.
- You have not yet earned your first bachelor’s degree and you do not have more than 160 attempted credit hours on your transcript from previous college attendance.
- You do not fit the criteria for being a recent high school graduate.
How do I qualify for the 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.
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.
When does the Opportunity Scholarship kick in?
The Opportunity Scholarship begins the first semester you enroll, but you will need to meet the credit hour and GPA requirements to continue receiving it.
How long can I receive the Opportunity Scholarship?
As long as you continue to meet the credit hour and GPA requirements, you can continue to receive the Opportunity Scholarship either until you complete your degree or you attempt the maximum number of credit hours, whichever comes first.
- Students pursuing associate (two-year) degrees: maximum of 90 attempted credit hours.
- Students pursuing bachelor’s (four-year) degrees: maximum of 160 attempted credit hours.
For students pursuing career training certificates, there is no limitation on attempted credit hours or number of certificates completed. However, please keep in mind that this could affect your ability to stay eligible for the scholarship if you continue your education toward an associate degree or bachelor’s degree in the future.
How do I know if my certificate program or degree is eligible for the Opportunity Scholarship?
The Opportunity Scholarship can be used for any for-credit associate and bachelor’s degree programs offered by New Mexico public colleges and universities. For-credit certificate programs that meet workforce needs in New Mexico can also be covered by the Opportunity Scholarship. Ask your financial aid advisor if the program you are considering qualifies.
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.
I am a recent high school graduate but prefer to enroll part-time. Can I use the Opportunity Scholarship instead?
If you are a recent high school graduate planning to enroll within sixteen months of high school graduation you will need to follow the Lottery Scholarship track. You can, however, use the Opportunity Scholarship to attend classes in the summer if you choose.