College students in New Mexico are getting the whole enchilada.
Last week, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) signed the New Mexico Opportunity Scholarship Act into law. Under the plan, tuition and required fees at any public college or university in the state will be 100% covered for New Mexico residents, as long as they enroll in at least six credit hours and maintain a minimum 2.5 grade point average.
According to the governor’s office, the program is the most wide-reaching tuition-free scholarship program in the United States. New high school graduates and adult learners are eligible, with funds available for career training certificates, associate degrees and bachelor’s degrees.
The scholarship is funded by $75 million in general appropriations ― enough to support 35,000 students beginning this fall, or more than half of New Mexico’s current undergraduate student population.
New Mexico already had an expansive scholarship program funded through the New Mexico Lottery; unlike the new scholarship, however, full tuition reimbursement via the lottery scholarship is only available for undergraduates taking at least 15 credit hours per semester.
Making the new scholarship available for part-time students was important to bill sponsor Joy Garratt, a Democratic state representative who earned her undergraduate degree six credits at a time.
“I am an adult learner who actually graduated from college by taking six credits per semester, so this bill is personally important to me,” Garratt said in a release. “I am proud to have sponsored this legislation, and I know it will change the lives of thousands of New Mexicans.”