Revamped Opportunity Scholarship proposal set to move forward
Sponsored by Rep. Tomás Salazar, the updated legislation, House Bill 14, will be heard in the House Education Committee Monday morning. A Senate version of the bill introduced by Sen. Bill O’Neill (Senate Bill 323) is expected to be heard by the Senate Education Committee this week.
The Opportunity Scholarship will move forward as a “middle-dollar” scholarship, covering the gap tuition and fee gap remaining after the application of the Lottery Scholarship and other state scholarships to ensure coverage of 100 percent of tuition and fees. Federal Pell grants, GI Bill benefits, and institutional and private scholarships will be applied after the Opportunity Scholarship, enabling students to leverage additional financial aid for costs of attendance and living expenses.
“The Opportunity Scholarship will launch a positive and ultimately self-fulfilling cycle of educational opportunity and economic growth,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham. “If we build a diversified economy and provide every chance for New Mexicans to build a career and start a family here, they will stay. Higher education is a big part of that. Truly, an investment in higher education is an investment in New Mexico’s future.”
To be implemented in two phases, the Opportunity Scholarship will cover two-year college (including trade and certificate programs) for both recent high school graduates and returning adults in Year One and expand to additionally cover four-year bachelor’s degree programs for recent high school graduates in Year Two.
The revamped Opportunity Scholarship proposal strengthens the governor’s goal of enacting a program that will improve access to higher education for New Mexicans, restoring the promise of the first-in-the-nation Lottery Scholarship.
“I’m always glad to incorporate feedback to make a good idea even better,” the governor said. “I’m looking forward to working with lawmakers to ensure students and families all across the state are made whole with this game-changing scholarship proposal. New Mexico students and families need an advocate. I am firmly in their corner.”