New Mexico is one of the many states known for its generous initiatives to provide students with the best chance of receiving financial aid. Some of these include the New Mexico Legislative Lottery Scholarship and more commonly, Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Although these two options are effective ways to receive financial aid, they pose a problem for some students who don’t meet all the criteria necessary to receive funding. Some of these problems include citizenship status and Social Security ownership. To confront these complications, New Mexico State Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham proposed a new plan called the New Mexico Opportunity that, if approved by New Mexico State Legislature, would provide high school graduates free in-state tuition at any of the state’s two- and four-year public colleges (that is, all 24 of them).
So, wait, who gets aid again?
According to the New Mexico State Governor, this plan would cover roughly 55,00 students a year. To receive aid, students must graduate from high schools or other equivalency programs and must maintain a minimum 2.5 grade point average at the university of which they are attending. The most eye-catching part of this proposal is the fact that students will be able to reap the benefits of this plan regardless of their family income and immigration status. This, in turn, would broaden the outreach to students who traditionally would be limited by these factors of qualification.
How will this plan be funded?
In total, the cost of the plan would amount to anywhere between 25 to 35 million dollars a year. According to CNN, “[the plan] would combine with the New Mexico Lottery Scholarship and build on existing federal grants to cover students’ tuition.” Not to mention that New Mexico plans to cover most of the program’s costs using growing revenue from its oil refineries. None of this plan covers the other costs associated with living on campus, but it covers the entirety of students’ in-state tuition.
Is there a catch?
To claim this opportunity, one must draw from existing state aid programs and federal grants, meaning they would have to utilize those funds first before being eligible to receive aid from this program.
At the end of the day, the idea of free education is something people will continue to discuss as the cost of college grows overtime. Student loans and fees are a big reason why many people worry about their future education and what, most of the time, deters people from pursuing an educational career. Many people continue to pay off debts into their adulthood and this affects not only their career choices, but also the opportunities they receive in general. As parents send their kids to college, they will be looking at plans like these to help assist their child’s future endeavors into their college years and possibly beyond.