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Michelle Lujan Grisham has served as the governor of New Mexico since 2019. Photo: Getty Images.
Michelle Lujan Grisham has served as the governor of New Mexico since 2019. Photo: Getty Images.

New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signs bill for free college tuition

She signed Senate Bill 140, or the New Mexico Opportunity Scholarship Act, this past Friday, March 11.

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The Governor of New Mexico, Michelle Lujan Grisham, signed a bill last Friday, March 11 for free college tuition in the state.

The bill, Senate Bill 140, is also known as the New Mexico Opportunity Scholarship Act. 

The bill will allow tuition to be waived for students attending qualified in-state public schools, tribal colleges, and community colleges.

First introduced in 2019, and implemented in 2020 by Lujan Grisham, Senate Bill 140 makes college tuition free for most New Mexico residents.

That population of just over 2.1 million (per the latest census statistics) is also the most Hispanic by percentage of any state in the U.S. By percentage, 49.3% of New Mexico’s population identifies as Hispanic or Latino. 

Twenty-two percent of the state’s total population is also people under the age of 18, and young people will be the biggest beneficiaries of the new free tuition bill. As with young populations in other states, a large majority in New Mexico is also Hispanic.

"For over a quarter of a century, New Mexico has been a national leader in providing free college to its residents,” said Lujan Grisham in a statement from her office. “A fully funded Opportunity Scholarship opens the door for every New Mexican to reach higher, strengthening our economy, our families and our communities.”

The bill’s signing makes the New Mexico Opportunity Scholarship Act the most wide-spanning tuition-free scholarship program in the country, and the only state-funded scholarship program in the nation to include both recent high school grads and adult students returning to school.

The Scholarship program allows students to collect federal aid through Pell Grants, local scholarships, private scholarships, and the sort for various expenses.

Expenses may include textbooks, food, materials, housing, transportation, childcare, and other costs.

Seventy-five million dollars is contributed to the scholarship program by the General Appropriation Act. This makes it so the program can support up to 35,000 students starting a Fall semester. In the state, 10,000 students have received Opportunity Scholarships.

For residents of New Mexico interested in receiving the scholarship, more information can be found here.

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