SANTA FE — Fully-funded tuition-free college through the Opportunity Scholarship and increased funding for workforce education programs are included in the $1.21 billion higher education budget approved by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham for fiscal year 2024.
The FY24 budget more than doubles last year’s investment in higher education with $187.1 million in additional recurring funds and significant portions of the budget going toward programs that directly benefit New Mexicans. This year’s budget marks one of the largest investments in higher education in state history at 12 percent of the state’s $9.6 billion budget.
“This year’s budget for higher education proves to New Mexicans that this state is fully invested in their success. With sustained funding for the Opportunity Scholarship, we can continue the monumental progress we’ve made as a national leader and keep doors open for tens of thousands of New Mexico students this year and into the future. New Mexico has just begun to see the transformational impact that these investments will have,” Higher Education Secretary Stephanie M. Rodriguez said.
The Opportunity Scholarship will receive $146 million in recurring state funds to cover tuition and course-specific fees for students pursuing high-demand career training certificates, and two-year and four-year degrees at public colleges and universities statewide. The program led to record-breaking college enrollment, marking the first increases in over a decade during the first year of full funding, with more than 36,000 students benefitting in the fall semester alone. Year-over-year fall enrollment increased by 4 percent and spring enrollment increased by 6 percent. First-time, full-time enrollment increased by nearly 10 percent.
Funding for key programs to expand New Mexico’s skilled workforce, support the state’s Tribal College Dual Credit Program, invest in adult education and literacy, and address student hunger on college campuses have also been approved by the legislature and signed by Gov. Lujan Grisham.
“New Mexico is making real progress in increasing college access and ensuring that students who enroll in college can succeed and graduate. By addressing college access and affordability, along with basic student needs and support services, our state is leading the nation in taking a holistic approach to student success,” Higher Education Deputy Secretary Dr. Patricia Trujillo said.
New Mexico’s public colleges and universities will also receive an increase of three percent in operational funding at $782.8 million, a $26.5 million increase from FY23. A total of $152.9 million will fund 140 capital projects at 28 college and university campuses statewide, with an additional $15 million supporting building renewal and replacement needs. Another $5 million will go towards facility demolition with $3 million supporting equipment renewal and replacement for higher education institutions.
The budget also includes $200,000 for a sustainability study to review the state’s higher education funding formula and an appropriation for research and public service projects at public colleges and universities.
The New Mexico Higher Education Department will receive $2.5 million for continued development of New Mexico’s longitudinal data system, which will provide public information on outcomes related to early childhood, K-12, and higher education, and the workforce.
Other funding highlights:
- Scholarships and Financial Aid
- $8 million for the Teacher Preparation Affordability Scholarship Fund.
- $5 million for the Teacher Loan Repayment Program.
- $14.6 million for the Health Professional Loan Repayment Program.
- $1 million for the Public Service Law Loan Repayment Program.
- $20 million for scholarships benefitting students in master’s level social work programs.
Adult and Workforce Education
- $9 million for adult education programs.
- $15.6 million for nurse education programs at public colleges and universities, an increase of $8.4 million from FY23.
- $10 million for faculty in nurse education programs to expand enrollment.
- $10 million for scholarships for master’s or doctoral degree students in a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics program.
- $1 million for the Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine for outreach, minority student services and to enhance and expand graduate medical education programs.
Student Support and Success
- $2.5 million for student support services through the higher education funding formula.
- $1 million for Gov. Lujan Grisham’s Food Initiative for college food security initiatives.
- $436,700 for the Tribal College Dual Credit Program, an increase of $200,000 above FY23.
- Economic Development and Research
- $2.8 million for Centers of Excellence, an increase of $926,700.
- $30 million from the general fund and $55 million in total funds to the Technology Enhancement Fund to provide matching funds to state research universities to support innovative applied research agriculture, biotechnology, biomedicine, energy, materials science, microelectronics, water resources, aerospace, telecommunications, manufacturing science, and similar areas.
For more information about tuition-free college through the Opportunity Scholarship and Lottery Scholarship, visit ReachHigherNM.com.
For more information about the New Mexico Higher Education Department, visit hed.nm.gov.