Governor’s Budget Proposal Keeps New Mexico Higher Education Ahead Of Pack For College Access, Affordability


Submitted by Carol A. Clark on February 9, 2024 - 8:41 am


SANTA FE — The New Mexico Higher Education Department (NMHED) is joining Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham in advocating for New Mexico students and the future of the state through continued funding for tuition-free college, loan repayment programs and workforce preparation.

“The Governor’s budget recommendation for higher education keeps our state at the head of the pack when it comes to college access and affordability and expands upon programs that have a strong track record of success,” NMHED Secretary Stephanie M. Rodriguez said. “With the remarkable strides New Mexico has made over the past several years, students and families can rest assured that their home state is the prime place to get an affordable, high-quality education and enter high-paying jobs.”

Gov. Lujan Grisham is proposing $157.9 million for the Opportunity Scholarship, an $11.9 million increase to support the growing number of students taking advantage of the program to further their education.

In the 2022-23 academic year, over 42,000 New Mexico residents received the Opportunity Scholarship. In that year, Opportunity Scholarship recipients were eight percentage points likelier to stay in school and graduate than the overall student population. Between the 2020-21 and 2022-23 academic years, the number of students receiving short-term certificates increased by about 39%.

The Department’s Teacher Loan Repayment program would receive $25 million and the Health Professional Loan Repayment Program would receive $19.7 million. Both programs have served more than 2,500 teachers and health care professionals since 2023.

A priority of Gov. Lujan Grisham, $500,000 is proposed to establish a statewide portal at the department to receive incident reports of hazing on college campuses, connected to House Bill 225, which would make hazing a crime in New Mexico.

The Governor is proposing $1.1 billion for operations and programs at New Mexico’s colleges and universities, an increase of 3.5%, and an additional $147,000 is proposed for the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center. Under the Governor’s recommendation, higher education employees would also receive a 3 percent pay increase.

Additional budget recommendations include:

  • $15 million for endowed faculty positions at the UNM Health Sciences Center 
  • $10 million to expand nurse education programs  
  • $986,100 for the Graduate Scholarship Fund 
  • $5 million for graduate student salaries and benefits 
  • $500,000 for the Minority Doctoral Loan Repayment Program
  • $2 million for the College Basic Needs Initiative 
  • $1.5 million for mental and behavioral health services on college campuses
  • $4 million for the Dual Credit Program
  • $500,000 for the Minority Doctoral Loan Repayment Program
  • $3.25 million for RISE NM, New Mexico’s Longitudinal Data System
  • $7 million for cybersecurity initiatives at state public colleges and universities
  • $2.25 million for tribal education technical assistance centers
  • $7 million for adult education programs
  • $200,000 for High School Equivalency test vouchers
  • $150,000 for adult education instructional materials
  • $750,000 for adult literacy programs

More details about the Governor’s budget recommendation for higher education are available here.