Governor Lujan Grisham to co-chair Advisory Council for the Campaign for Free College Tuition
National coalition seeks to make public colleges tuition-free
WASHINGTON, D.C. & SANTA FE, NM – The Campaign for Free College Tuition (CFCT) has announced that New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham will co-chair the organization’s advisory council, a group of national leaders that seeks to make tuition-free public college a reality for students in the United States.
She replaces former co-chair Governor Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island, who now serves as President Biden’s Secretary of Commerce, and will join former Michigan Governor James Blanchard in leading the committee.
CFCT is a non-profit and bipartisan coalition of individuals and groups that aims to make higher education affordable for all students to ensure that the country’s workforce has the skills needed to compete in the global marketplace. It is committed to promoting state and national initiatives that remove the cost barriers to a college degree and is at the forefront of the free college tuition movement.
“Governor Lujan Grisham understands that improving college access and affordability not only helps students and families but is a key to her state’s economic recovery. Her leadership in restoring the Lottery Scholarship to cover full tuition at public and tribal colleges for first time in six years will help us build momentum for eliminating cost as a barrier to attaining postsecondary education,” said Morley Winograd, President and CEO of the Campaign for Free College Tuition. “I am pleased to welcome her to CFCT’s Advisory Council.”
“Pursuing higher education can be transformational for individuals and communities across generations, but for too many students, financial barriers make a college degree beyond reach. New Mexico was the first state to provide tuition-free college to its citizens, and continues to expand tuition promise programs to benefit even more students,” Governor Lujan Grisham said. “I look forward to collaborating with fellow leaders to explore how we can make free college a reality for all students.”
Governor Lujan Grisham has made tuition-free college a top priority. During her second year in office, she introduced the New Mexico Opportunity Scholarship, enabling thousands of New Mexico students to pursue certificate and degree programs at public and Tribal colleges across the state at no cost to them. Understanding that tuition and fees are only part of the cost of higher education, the scholarship allows students to apply federal and need-based aid above and beyond the cost of tuition, meaning that these funds can cover expenses such as books and materials, housing, transportation, and childcare. The Opportunity Scholarship also provides an option for adult learners to enroll as part-time students, who make up a majority of the state’s enrolled college population.
New Mexico was the first state to provide tuition-free college with the establishment of the New Mexico Lottery Scholarship in 1996. In 2021, Governor Lujan Grisham restored funding for the New Mexico Lottery Scholarship for the first time in six years, ensuring that it could once again cover the full cost of tuition for recent high school graduates. She was also the first to extend the benefit of state-funded financial aid programs to students attending Tribal colleges and universities.
Governor Blanchard, who helped launch the Campaign for Free College Tuition in 2014, said, “Governors have historically played a critical role in reforming higher education. I look forward to working with Governor Lujan Grisham and members of Advisory Council to make public colleges tuition-free in all 50 states.”
A full list of CFCT Advisory Council members can be found here.